Allen Moore rides along the Yukon River during the 2017 Yukon Quest. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Snowy setup for Yukon Quest start

‘Here we are throwing it back to the old school ways of running the race along Lake Laberge’

All eyes will be on Fairbanks Feb. 3 for the start of the Yukon Quest as 26 mushers set out with their dog teams for Whitehorse.

A total of 30 mushers signed up to enter this year’s race — more than in recent years.

Natalie Haltrich, executive director for Yukon Quest International Association Canada, said that number is above average.

“We haven’t reached that number in a few years,” said Haltrich. “We have had four withdraw prior to the start for various personal reasons.”

Haltrich added organizers are expecting the 26 remaining mushers to be at the starting line for the 1,000-mile race.

The field is made up of six Canadians, 16 Americans, two Germans and a Swede. Eleven of the entrants are rookies — mushers who are either first-time entrants or have never finished the Quest — and 15 are veterans with at least one finish.

Some of the familiar faces include 2017 winner Matt Hall, 2017 runner-up and two-time winner Hugh Neff, and 2017 third-place finisher and two-time winner Allen Moore.

Other names to keep in mind during the race include Yukoners Luc Tweddell, Nathaniel Hamlyn, Ed Hopkins and Rob Cooke.

Mark Stamm of Riverside, Washington, is likely the musher with the longest gap between appearances. He completed the Quest in 1988 and had not entered since.

With the start just around the corner, snow conditions are better than average on the Alaskan half of the trail.

“Our operations manager on the Alaskan side … said from what he’s read, from talking to his people and what he knows from historical trails, this is one of the better Alaskan trails in terms of snow,” said Haltrich.

Some icy slopes near the end of the course mean that the Yukon trail will closely resemble the original route.

“It’s the trail we ran for the first 10 years of the race — over Lake Laberge — and that was done to minimize risk and for some safety concerns,” said Haltrich. “You talk about 35 years — and of course this wasn’t planned — but here we are throwing it back to the old school ways of running the race along Lake Laberge.”

Also new this year is the Yukon Quest for Learning program, designed to help teachers use the Quest as a teaching opportunity.

“The intent there is to connect directly to these students to get them interested in the North, interested in the race, and learning as they’re connecting,” said Haltrich.

The Yukon Quest is working with the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre on a surprise 35th-year project that will be revealed at the end of race banquet.

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

Yukon Quest 1,000-mile mushers

1 Rob Cooke, U.K./Canadian – Veteran

2 Hugh Neff, American – Veteran

3 Luc Tweddell, Canadian – Veteran

4 Paige Drobny, American – Veteran

5 Christine Roalofs, American – Rookie

6 Nathaniel Hamlyn, Canadian – Rookie

7 Claudia Wickert, German – Rookie

8 Riley Dyche, American – Rookie

9 Allen Moore, American – Veteran

10 Torsten Kohnert, Swedish – Veteran

11 Matt Hall, American – Veteran

12 Ryne Olson, American – Veteran

13 Bernhard Schuchert, German – Rookie

14 Jason Campeau, Canadian – Veteran

15 Jennifer Campeau, Canadian – Rookie

16 Alex Buetow, American – Rookie

17 Mark Stamm, American – Veteran

18 Ed Hopkins, Canadian – Veteran

19 Tim Pappas, American – Rookie

20 Dave Dalton, American – Veteran

21 Severin Cathry, Swiss – Rookie

22 Laura Neese, American – Veteran

23 Mike Ellis, American – Veteran

24 Ike Underwood, American – Rookie

25 Vebjorn Aishana Reitan, American – Rookie

26 Katherine Keith, American – Veteran

Just Posted

Whitehorse march marks anniversary of Wendy Carlick, Sarah MacIntosh murders

The march, held in Whitehorse’s McIntyre subdivision, also honoured Allan Waugh and Greg Dawson

Axed whistleblower sues Yukon government

Jarrett Parker alleges he was terminated for suggesting kids were not receiving appropriate care

Yukon health minister under fire for handling of group home controversy

Silver calls opposition questions raised in public ‘parlour tricks’

Gwich’in, allies vow resistance as U.S. readies ANWR drilling leases

‘The administration has made my people a target’

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

Gold Rush star Tony Beets appeals pond fire fines

Beets and his company, Tamarack Inc., were fined $31k for violating portions of the Waters Act

Defence lawyer asks Crown appeal of Kolasch acquittal be dismissed

In factum, Harry Kolasch’s lawyer says it’s clear that police officer used excessive force

Yukon Liberals raise $20,000 at Vancouver hockey game

Silver says no public money spent on trip, party refuses to say who bought tickets

Inspector, CYFN lawyer talk about WCC inspection at justice conference

David Loukidelis and Jennie Cunningham spoke about the Whitehorse Correctional Centre

An early view on how the carbon tax will affect the Yukon economy

If you only remember two numbers from the recently released federal-territorial study… Continue reading

‘New way of thinking’ about infrastructure funding asks First Nations and municipalities to chip in

Some of YG’s 25 per cent share of infrastructure cash may come from municipalities or First Nations

Nadia Moser named to senior national team

Whitehorse’s Nadia Moser was officially named to the senior national team by… Continue reading

Most Read