At the “top of the world”, in the Yukon and Alaska wilderness of northwestern North America, an epic winter sports event takes place every February, the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Covering 1,000 miles between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska during the depths of the Arctic winter, the Yukon Quest is known for excellence in canine care and fostering the traditions of northern travel by dog sled.
The Yukon Quest has been run every year since 1984 over the 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of rough, sometimes hazardous terrain between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska. The Yukon Quest Race Start alternates annually between these two host cities.
This incredible winter sports event takes place every February when weather conditions can be the coldest and sometimes the most unpredictable of the year. The Yukon Quest race starts on schedule regardless of weather and lasts from 10 to 16 days until the final dog team arrives at the Finish Line, depending on weather and trail conditions.
The Yukon Quest Trail follows historic Gold Rush and Mail Delivery dog sled routes from the turn of the 20th Century. Once the transportation “highways” of the Northern frontier, the Yukon Quest Trail now only comes alive during February when the frosty breath and haunting howls of hundreds of sled dogs return to these historic routes. Dog teams consisting of one human 'musher' and their 14 canine athletes, travel for two weeks, racing across some of the last pristine wilderness remaining in North America.
This video looks at the Yukon Quest, and also dog sledding opportunities for travellers to Canada.