Rob Cooke and his team of Siberian huskies arrive at the Two Rivers, Alaska, checkpoint on Feb. 13 during the 2019 Yukon Quest. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Just four mushers remain on the Yukon Quest trail after finish line relocation

The trail was shortened 23 km due to increasingly dangerous conditions near downtown Fairbanks

Dangerous conditions have led Yukon Quest officials to move the finish line for the final group of mushers.

On Feb. 13 the decision was made to move the finish line from the Morris Thompson Culture and Visitors Center in downtown Fairbanks to the Nordale Bridge, a site approximately 23 kilometres earlier on the trail where Nordale Road crosses the Chena River, due to overflow and blowing snow creating dangerous conditions.

Alaskan Brent Sass won the 2019 Yukon Quest on Feb. 11 and mushers have continued to cross the finish line in the days since.

The top five of Sass, Hans Gatt, Allen Moore, Michelle Phillips and Matt Hall all crossed the finish line on Feb. 11 and another six mushers — Paige Drobny, Torsten Kohnert, Denis Tremblay, Jessie Royer, Nathaniel Hamlyn and Ryne Olsen — all finished on Feb. 12.

Just four mushers crossed finished the Quest on Feb. 13, thanks to bad conditions on the Eagle and Rosebud summits that delayed many teams at the Central and Mile 101 checkpoints.

American veteran musher Cody Strathe crossed the finish line in 12th position at 3:05 a.m. local time on Feb. 13, followed by Dawson City’s Brian Wilmshurst at 9:27 a.m.

First into the new finish line was Martin Apayauq Reitan at 4:56 p.m. in 14th place. Next after Reitan was veteran Dave Dalton who arrived at 10:24 p.m.

On Feb. 14, another large number of mushers crossed the finish line.

Deke Naaktgeboren arrived at 7:46 a.m. with Dawson City’s Jason Biasetti close behind at 7:49 a.m.

Next in was Andrew Pace at 9:46 a.m., Yukoner Rob Cooke at 10:08 a.m., Curt Perano at 11:12 a.m., Remy Leduc at 1:34 p.m., Laura Allaway at 3:11 p.m. and Isabelle Travadon at 3:15 p.m.

As of 3:30 p.m. local time, four mushers still remained on the trail.

Jim Lanier was on the move 10 km from the finish, followed by Chase Tingle 26 km out, Misha Wiljes 42 km out and Hendrik Stachnau 45 km out.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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