Josi Leideritz, the new executive director for the Yukon Quest International Association (Canada), poses for a photo in Whitehorse on Oct. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon Quest hires new Yukon executive director

The Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race announced the hiring of a new executive director for its Yukon office in a press release on Sept. 29.

Josi Leideritz started in the role on Sept. 16, according to the release, just under two weeks after plans for a Canadian race this winter were officially scrapped.

Former executive director Shayna Hammer stepped down at the end of August.

Despite 16 months until the next Yukon Quest race on Canadian soil, Leideritz told the News there is plenty to do in the meantime.

“First of all, there is lots to learn here — lots to catch up on — and (to) just see how things have been done in the past,” Leideritz said. “In general for this year, our goal is to find ways to stay in touch with our fans, to enhance our engagement with our communities, with our mushers, and we have fans worldwide, so we’re really going to be looking at how we can make things a little more accessible virtually for them.”

The Quest also recently put out a request for proposals in search of a public relations and media consultant firm to “develop an annual marketing plan, maintain social media systems, provide support and correspondence for all external stakeholders and act as primary contact for all media inquiries” according to the posting.

Earlier this summer, Pixie Ingram Consulting announced it would no longer represent the Yukon Quest.

The idea, Leideritz said, is to not allow people to forget about the Quest, despite no race plans for this winter.

“We still want to not fall off the face of the earth,” Leideritz said. “We will need somebody to help us create a marketing plan to make sure we are staying relevant in this time.”

While plans move ahead for the newly-named Summit Quest on the Alaskan side, Leideritz said the Yukon team won’t sit on their hands all winter in any case.

“I would definitely say keep an eye open, but as of right now we’re still in the planning stages of what we’re going to do,” Leideritz said. “So I can’t really give details, but definitely keep an eye open. We’re definitely going to be doing something, but we can’t quite yet share what that will be.”

This winter will mark the first time since the race’s first iteration in 1984 that a 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometre) race was not attempted.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at

Yukon Quest