Brent Sass and his sled dog team on the trail outside Dawson City on Feb. 5. (Julien Schroder/YQ2019)

Mushers say 2019 Yukon Quest trail in good condition despite low snowfall

Yukon musher Rob Cooke was dragged behind his sled following a bad tangle

The 2019 Yukon Quest has been a little different than most years, thanks in large part to a low snow pack leading to the decision to truck teams from Braeburn to Carmacks.

Brent Sass, the first musher into Dawson, called this year’s quest “wacky” thanks to the changes.

“It just took us all out of our usual procedure, having to put the dogs in the truck and adding dogs at different times and stuff like that,” said Sass.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the general consensus from mushers has been that the trail is in excellent condition.

Almost all of the mushers that reached Dawson on Feb. 5 said that the trail was in excellent shape.

Paige Drobny, who is currently in fifth place, said that while there was a “little bit” of overflow on the way into Dawson, it wasn’t something that bothered her or her team.

“The trail is in great shape actually,” said Drobny. “I mean the whole trail from the start has been great.”

Yukoner Nathaniel Hamlyn said the trail was “really good.”

“Towards (Dawson), there was a lot of snow,” said Hamlyn. “Towards the front, there wasn’t much at all. It was really nice, this snow, after not having it.”

Earlier in the race on Feb. 4, musher Rob Cooke spoke to the News in Pelly Crossing. He also said that the trail was in good shape.

“All the overflow we were told we would see before Braeburn never materialized,” said Cooke. “It had all frozen and snowed on top, so it’s been a good trail — a really good trail. The Rangers did a fantastic job.”

Even with a good trail, there are still close calls and problems for teams.

Cooke said he and his team had some issues approximately 16 kilometres before reaching Pelly Crossing when he came across a glacier and his team took a wrong turn.

“I don’t know why the dogs took a wrong turn,” said Cooke. “(The dogs) went up a blind turn and got caught. I had to try to turn them around.”

The wrong turn had led his team into a narrow area and Cooke said his team had a really bad tangle.

“I took my mitts off and chucked them on top of the sled,” said Cooke, adding his sled was pointing the complete wrong direction at that point.

He said he pulled his team back onto the trail and that they were still tangled up.

“I tried to pull the sled back onto the trail and as I pulled the sled back onto the trail, the whole team untangled itself and took off,” said Cooke.

The sled quickly flipped, pulling Cooke along behind.

“I’m getting dragged behind the sled, trying to get a snow hook in. Eventually (I) managed to stop them, and my mitts are like 15 feet back down the trail,” said Cooke. “They wanted to keep going, so I snacked them to try and shut them up a bit and then ran back really quickly, got my mitts and got back on the sled.”

Cooke said at that point, he wasn’t entirely sure he had and his team were headed the correct direction.

“I had to keep checking my GPS to make sure we were facing the right way.”

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

Yukon Quest

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Medical lab technologist Angela Jantz receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Whitehorse hospital on Jan. 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Online booking system for Moderna vaccine opens as mobile teams prepare to visit communities

“The goal is to protect everyone and stop the spread of COVID-19”

adsf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 15, 2021

Zhùr, the ancient wolf pup found mummified in permafrost at Last Chance Creek mine in July 2016. (Government of Yukon/Submitted)
‘Mummy’ wolf pup unearthed in permafrost paints a picture of ice age ancestors

Zhùr is the best preserved and most complete mummy of an ancient wolf found to date.

Former premier Tony Penikett begins a presentation at the Whitehorse Public Library about his book, Hunting the Northern Character, on Dec. 11, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Former premier named to Order of Canada

Tony Penikett reflects on career

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Mayo-Tatchun MLA Don Hutton won’t be runing for re-election. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mayo-Tatchun MLA won’t run for re-election

Liberal MLA Don Hutton won’t be running for re-election. A former wildland… Continue reading

Large quantities of a substance believed to be cocaine, a large amount of cash, several cells phones and a vehicle were all seized after RCMP searched a Whistle Bend home on Jan. 6. (Photo courtesy RCMP)
Seven arrested after drug trafficking search

RCMP seized drugs, money from Whistle Bend residence on Jan. 6

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Whitehorse RCMP are seeing a growing trend of vehicle break-and-enters in the Kopper King area. (Black Press file)
Series of break-and-enters in Kopper King area

Series of break-and-enters in Kopper King area Whitehorse RCMP are seeing a… Continue reading

Most Read