Yukon Quest start 2009 in Whitehorse, Yukon by Yukondick

Yukon Quest start 2009 in Whitehorse, Yukon by 

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Yukon Quest, is a 1600 km sled dog race run across the American/Canadian border every February between Fairbanks, Alaska, and Whitehorse, Yukon. Because of the harsh winter conditions, difficult trail, and the limited support that competitors are allowed, it is considered the “most difficult sled dog race in the world”.

In the competition, first run in 1984, a dog team leader (called a musher) and a team of up to 14 dogs race for 10 or more days. The course follows the route of the historic 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, mail delivery, and transportation routes between Fairbanks, Dawson City, and Whitehorse. Mushers pack up to 113 kg of equipment and provisions for themselves and their dogs to survive between checkpoints. They are permitted to leave dogs at checkpoints and dog drops, but not to replace them and must finish with at least 6 dogs. Sleds may not be replaced and mushers cannot accept help from non-racers except at Dawson City, the halfway mark. Ten checkpoints and four dog drops, some more than 300 km apart, lie along the trail. Veterinarians are present at each to ensure the health and welfare of the dogs, give advice, and provide veterinary care for dropped dogs; together with the race marshal or a race judge, they may remove a dog or team from the race for medical or other reasons.

The route runs on frozen rivers, over four mountain ranges, and through isolated northern villages. Racers cover 1,635 km or more. Temperatures commonly drop as low as −50 °C), and winds can reach 80 km/h at higher elevations. Sonny Lindner won the inaugural race in 1984 from a field of 26 teams. The fastest run took place in 2010, when Hans Gatt finished after 9 days and 26 minutes. The 2009 competition had the closest one-two finish, as Schnuelle beat second-place Hugh Neff by just four minutes.

In 2005, Lance Mackey became the first Yukon Quest rookie to win the race, a feat that was repeated by 2011’s champion, Dallas Seavey. In 2007, Mackey became the first to win both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a feat he repeated the following year. The longest race time was in 1988, when Ty Halvorson took 20 days, 8 hours, and 29 minutes to finish. In 2000, Aliy Zirkle became the first woman to win the race, in 10 days, 22 hours, and 57 minutes.

Original photograph modified with OnOne Focal Point, blended layers and masks

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dog sledding, race, winter, yukon, alaska

Played with photography since early High School. Since moving to the Yukon in 1997 I have become much more involved and am now comfortable in Photoshop although there is always more to learn. The Yukon is a great canvas and would recommend it for most everyone’s Bucket List

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  • virginian
    virginianabout 4 years ago

    Nice action/life shot. They sure work hard. Looks neat the way nature fades it.

  • A little photoshop helped fade it. Tried to get some sharper ones this year [even years they start from Fairbanks and odd years from Whitehorse] but nothing outstanding.

    – Yukondick

  • virginian
    virginianabout 4 years ago

    It’s outstanding that these dogs put their heart and soul into this race. I believe this shot is nice the way it is.

  • thanks. I guess it is pretty good. It is in the tourism office in Whitehorse.

    – Yukondick

  • Margaret Stevens
    Margaret Stevensabout 4 years ago

    Great effects with the fading! Boy, these guys workhard. Amazing eundurance.

  • Valerie Rosen
    Valerie Rosenabout 4 years ago

    fantastic capture! :-) val

  • I love words like fantastic when they apply to me. I guess it was worth braving the -20 weather when I took it,. Tried to get a better one this year but they changed the start line so that there isn’t a curve which is better for the mushers but not the photographers.

    – Yukondick

  • Kathy Baccari
    Kathy Baccariabout 4 years ago

  • Bev Woodman
    Bev Woodmanalmost 4 years ago

    Brilliant photo … I do love these dogs and admire their strength. It has long been on my list to head on over and watch the start of this race … one day♥

  • Make it an odd year and see the start in Whitehorse [even years in Fairbanks]

    – Yukondick

  • gingermegs
    gingermegsover 3 years ago

    Brilliant capture!:)

  • AngieDavies
    AngieDaviesover 3 years ago

    Great action shot! Love the joyous expressions on the faces of dogs and driver!

  • Linda Sparks
    Linda Sparksover 2 years ago

    Congrats on a stellar work

  • ChasSinklier
    ChasSinklierover 2 years ago

    FEATURED on September 19, 2012

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