Phillips, Zirkle among 25 mushers in Quest 300

Two mushers who produced the closest finish in the history of the Yukon Quest 300 are set to go head-to-head once again next month.

Two mushers who produced the closest finish in the history of the Yukon Quest 300 are set to go head-to-head once again next month.

Tagish, Yukon’s Michelle Phillips and Fairbanks, Alaska’s Aliy Zirkle are among 25 mushers registered for the 300-mile (483-kilometre) race beginning in Whitehorse on Feb. 7.

In 2013 Phillips beat Zirkle – last year’s winner – by eight seconds to win her first Quest 300 title.

“It’s nice to see there’s a little more snow and a little more cold weather to freeze up the lakes and rivers and make the trail a little safer,” said Phillips, who didn’t race in last year’s event. “It’s always a little more encouraging. We’re looking forward to it.”

“I like running the 300 when it starts in Whitehorse,” she added. “My husband (Ed Hopkins) is running the (Yukon Quest) 1,000, so it helps us get a good team ready for the Iditarod.”

Phillips, 46, has raced the 1,000-mile Quest six times, with five top-10 results. She placed fourth in 2008 and fifth in 2009, winning the Veterinarian’s Award. She won the women’s division of the Gin Gin 200 in 2009 and placed 16th in the 2012 Iditarod, for a personal best.

Zirkle became the first and only woman to win the Yukon Quest 1,000 in 2000. The 44-year-old also placed fourth in 1999 and took second in the 2012 Iditarod.

Phillips is one of 10 Yukon mushers registered for this year’s race, which runs from Whitehorse to Pelly Crossing.

Five Whitehorse mushers and their teams will take to the trails next month. They are Claudia Wickert, Melissa Schenke, Alexandra Rochat, Jacob Heigers and Susie Rogan, whose partner is four-time Yukon Quest champ Hans Gatt.

Other Yukoners include Carcross’ Simi Morrison, Dawson City’s Peter Reuter, Fox Lake’s Martine Le Levier, Shallow Bay’s Gerry Willomitzer and Mendenhall’s Gaetan Pierrard.

There are also eight Alaskans registered, including Two Rivers, Alaska’s Sebastian Schnuelle, who won the 1,000-mile Quest in 2009 and placed third in last year’s Quest 300.

The field of mushers also reaches beyond North America with Swede Dave King, Austrian Alex Serdjukov, Russian Timofei Gynuntegin, and U.K.‘s Kim Franklin and Jonathan Fletcher.

The Northwest Territories are also represented by Paul Hamlyn.

“Aliy is a great musher, there’s lots of other great mushers, so I guess we’ll see,” said Phillips. “We’d just like to thank the volunteers and all the people who work so hard to put it on every year.”

The Quest 300 has a cap of 25 teams with six currently on the waiting list.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Most Read