1,000 mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race starts in Fairbanks, Alaska.

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Explore Fairbanks announces that the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, "The most difficult sled dog race in the world," starts February 6th at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. The race covers 1,000 miles of extreme and majestic terrain on the way to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.

Photo by Sherman Hogue/Explore Fairbanks

Matt Hall travels along 2nd Avenue in Fairbanks, Alaska during the 2014 Yukon Quest.

High winds and whiteout conditions, rough gravel, hard packed snow, frigid open water, mountainous terrain and river flats can speed up the race or slow it to a crawl

The 33rd Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race begins February 6, 2016 at 11am in downtown Fairbanks, Alaska, and finishes in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. Due to jumble ice on the Chena River, the 1,000 mile race will see a shift in the start line location in 2016 to ensure the safety of the dogs, mushers and public. The start line will be located on the river side of the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center at 101 Dunkel Street in Fairbanks and will continue on to the Chena River.

Dog mushing is the Official Alaska State Sport, with the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod being Alaska’s premier long distance mushing events. The Yukon Quest trail follows historical gold rush and mail delivery dog sled routes. Once the transportation “highways” of the northern frontier, the Yukon Quest trail now comes alive each February with the frosty breath and haunting howls of dog teams consisting of one human musher and 14 canine athletes.

Race participants follow a 1,000-mile trail that traverses some of the most sparsely populated, remote and pristine country on the North American continent, where temperatures can vary dramatically from –80F to 30F. High winds and whiteout conditions, rough gravel, hard packed snow, frigid open water, mountainous terrain and river flats can speed up the race or slow it to a crawl. Mushers driving sleds loaded with 250-300 pounds of gear are challenged by elevation changes as they climb windy and drifted mountain summits, and the sheer distances between checkpoints, some over 100 miles.

Twenty-three mushers are scheduled to take off from the start line in Fairbanks. This year’s participants include three past champions, all Alaskan residents. Allen Moore won back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014; Hugh Neff took the crown in 2012 and Brett Sass, who is the reigning champion.

The 2016 Yukon Quest should take 9 to 14 days to run the 1,000 miles through nine communities en route to Whitehorse. For the latest news and information, visit yukonquest.com.

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About Explore Fairbanks
Explore Fairbanks is a non-profit marketing and management organization whose mission is to be an economic driver in the Fairbanks region by marketing to potential visitors and optimizing the visitor experience. Explore Fairbanks markets Fairbanks as a year-round destination by promoting local events, attractions and activities to independent travelers, group tour operators, travel agents, meeting planners and the media as well as by developing public policy and infrastructure to achieve marketing objectives. Find out more at explorefairbanks.com.

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Jerry Evans

Marti Steury
@explorfairbanks
since: 07/2008
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