With the 2015 Iditarod only a few months away, training is the focus of sled dog teams planning to run north to Nome. But a recent crash sidelined Willow musher Karin Hendrickson, who was hit by a car while training her team. Hendrickson broke her back and can no longer run her dogs. She also lost a key piece of equipment, as one of her four-wheelers was totaled. With not enough snow for sleds, Hendrickson says her dogs were falling behind on training. They had to run in shifts, with all 28 unable to hit the trail at once. Musher Bryan Bearss….Continue Reading

The Iditarod Trail Committee has bestowed an honor on one of its most dedicated volunteers. Philip Esai, who passed away earlier this year, has been named the 2015 Honorary Musher. Each year, the committee honors one or more people who have made a significant contribution to the sport of sled dog racing. Esai and his wife, Dora, have been involved with Iditarod for years, assisting with housing and feeding the mushers, clearing the trails and searching for lost sled dog teams. Dora, 80, will wear bib No. 1 in Esai’s honor and will ride in a sled basket at the….Continue Reading

Despite having three broken vertebrae, musher Karin Hendrickson is exceeding medical expectations and was released from Alaska Regional Hospital Thursday night. “I’m not messing around, I’ve got stuff to do,” Hendrickson said. Her friend Jennifer Hawks said she was surprised by the early release. “I didn’t believe her until I came here and talked to the staff myself to hear it from them,” Hawks said. “Because knowing her she would be ready to go and they weren’t ready to let her go and I would be kidnapping her basically.” Hawks has been by Hendrickson’s side, or helping at her property….Continue Reading

Mushers now have 70,000 reasons to want to win the upcoming Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Officials with Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race announced Tuesday that the 2015 winner will receive $70,000, which is about $20,000 more than what the 2014 winner took home. “Running this race is an expensive proposition,” said the race’s chief executive officer, Stan Hooley. “As the challenges to compete at the highest levels become more difficult and more expensive, it’s only fitting we’re doing what we can to reward those top competitors.” At a news conference at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel in Anchorage, Hooley added that prize….Continue Reading

The Wasilla Musher’s Wall of Fame added a new face over the weekend. Jujiro Wada was considered by many to be a pioneer of the Iditarod trail and a legend in the dog mushing culture in Alaska. Born in Japan, Wada stowed away on a boat headed for San Francisco where he was shanghighed and forced to sign a contract to work on a whaling ship. From there, Wada made his way north to Alaska and became a successful fur trader, runner, miner and, of course, musher. He was a jack of all trades. In 1906, Wada was honored with the….Continue Reading

ANCHORAGE – After scratching from Iditarod 42 within 30 miles of Nome, four-time champion Jeff King described the conditions surrounding his withdrawal from the Last Great Race. Buffeted by gale-force winds on the trail to Safety, King said his dogs were unable to continue and he was forced to set off towards the checkpoint on foot. He eventually accepted a ride from a group of passing snowmachines, he said, and arrived in Safety to find veteran racer Aliy Zirkle and successfully passed him on the trail and made it to the final checkpoint with her team. “I had mixed emotions:….Continue Reading

ANCHORAGE – Marcelle Fressineau Bib #50 won the Iditarod 42 Red Lantern award Saturday evening. Fressineau is the 49th and final musher to cross the burled arch. The 59-year-old Swiss-born Canadian musher arrived in Nome at 7:42 p.m. Her total race time was 13 days, 4 hours, 42 minutes and 8 seconds. The Red Lantern is awarded to the last team to successfully make it to Nome.  

ANCHORAGE – Rookie Elliot Anderson scratched early Saturday morning, leaving three teams in the running for the Iditarod 42 Red Lantern. The 22-year-old from Big Lake had been the top contender for the Red Lantern, awarded to the last to team to successfully reach Nome. Anderson scratched at Golovin around 1 a.m., race officials said. Trail sweeps made contact with him Friday night on the way there. He passed by Golovin, officials said, but eventually turned around and scratched. Lisbet Norris, Monica Zappa and Marcelle Fressineau remain on the trail. Anderson’s scratch brings the total to 19 scratches and one….Continue Reading

ANCHORAGE – Veteran racer Danny Seavey became the third member of the mushing family to finish the 2014 Iditarod, crossing the finish line shortly after 1:15 p.m. Thursday. Ending his third Iditarod in 35th place with eight dogs, he said the persistent winds and poor weather made the trail hard to find. “Since Unalakeet there haven’t been a whole lot of markers,” Seavey said. “It’s navigation by looking for scratch marks in the snow.” Dallas Seavey won the race at 4:04 a.m. Tuesday morning, and Mitch Seavey finished in third shortly after 7:30 a.m. the same day. Click here for….Continue Reading

ANCHORAGE – Mushers and dogs weren’t the only ones braving the trail to Nome over the past several weeks: The official photographer of the Iditarod has been capturing the race since 1981. Jeff Schultz – who’s working on self-publishing a book on the Last Great Race – says there’s one thing he loves about the race. “The racing, to me, doesn’t matter. I don’t care who wins,” he said. “It’s just going across Alaska by dog team, to me that’s just so romantic and just old school, it’s great.” He said the draw of the outdoors and the lack of….Continue Reading

ANCHORAGE – Elliot Anderson, a 22-year-old rookie racer from Big Lake, was the only musher to leave Shaktoolik Thursday morning. Racing squarely at the back of the pack, Anderson is currently the top contender for the Iditarod 42 Red Lantern, awarded to the last team to successfully reach Nome. Since Dallas Seavey’s seven-dog team won the Last Great Race early Tuesday morning, 24 other teams have reached the burled arch on Front Street. Anderson is racing behind an additional 24 teams on the trail west. The rookie racer is traveling with 15 dogs from race veteran Martin Buser’s kennel. Click….Continue Reading

NOME – One of the greatest things about the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is its commitment to education. Jennifer Reiter traveled more than 5,000 miles for a lesson plan and has been Skyping with dozens of classes during the race. A third grade teacher in Baltimore, Md., she’s used the Iditarod for many years as a teaching tool. “I taught in a lower socio-economic area and they had no idea there was anything outside of Baltimore,” she said. “They thought that was kind of the whole world. And so we started talking about how even within the United States,….Continue Reading

NOME – The mushers who drove down Front Street after Iditarod 42 champion Dallas Seavey Tuesday didn’t claim the top prize, but they were escorted by police and welcomed to Nome by the familiar sound of the finish-line air horn. “It’s always quite emotional,” said race veteran Hans Gatt, who finished this year’s race in ninth place. Greeted by family and cheering fans at the burled arch, race finishers said they were simply happy to have made it through. “The conditions were tough, but everything else went well,” said seventh-place finisher Jessie Royer. “I’m just happy to be here.”

NOME –  Aaron Burmeister is an Iditarod finisher again. When he got to Nome Tuesday night, he had a cheering section waiting for him. “It’s just incredible to be back home again,” Burmeister said. “This is one trip that I never thought was going to end. It was one thing after another.” His race time was nine days, five hours, 46 minutes and 14 seconds. Click the play button on the video box to watch.

Iditarod XLII nears the finish. Dallas Seavey leads the race to Nome with Aliy Zirkle not far behind. At 1:16 a.m.Tuesday morning, Seavey decided to push through the severe wind conditions at Safety. Nearly 20 minutes later Zirkle decided to make her move. According to Iditarod Insider’s GPS, Seavey has 30 miles left to Nome, but Zirkle keeps inching her way closer making it anyone’s game. 11:50 p.m. Monday, Jeff King scratched from the Iditarod saying the severe winds were making it hard to navigate the trail.

Jeff King scratched from Iditarod XLII around 11:50 p.m. Tuesday, 3.7 miles before reaching the Safety checkpoint. Race officials say the severe winds made it hard for King to navigate the trail. King stayed with his team for nearly two hours before asking a snowmachiner to help take him to the checkpoint. Fellow mushers out of White Mountain are heading toward Safety for the night.

NOME – Mushers are in the home stretch of Iditarod 42. For most of Monday it looked like Jeff King would get his fifth win, but that all changed late in the evening when Aliy Zirkle captured a last-minute lead. Before they took off from White Mountain, Sports Director Dave Goldman caught up with the two mushers. Click the video box to watch.

ANCHORAGE – Kelly Maixner scratched from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Monday. He scratched around 8 p.m. about a mile and a half before reaching Golovin. Maixner cited difficulty traveling against a crosswind while on the ice as the reason for pulling out, according to a release from race officials. A local resident took Maixner and his team to Golovin where they will spend the night, race officials said. Weather permitting, they’ll be transported to Nome Tuesday. This is his fourth Iditarod. Maixner’s highest place finish was 30th as a rookie in 2011. His scratch brings the total to 17….Continue Reading

ANCHORAGE – Even though they’re in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness, some mushers aren’t finding it difficult to stick to dietary restrictions. Rookie Katherine Keith sent out vacuum-packed gluten-free meals to eat on the trail. She says it took a bit of planning before the race to get everything prepared. Keith says some of her favorites so far have been French toast and a spinach-sweet potato quesadilla. “I’m going to eat good,” she said. “I’ll gain weight by the time I get to Nome. It takes planning but all that’s done before the race. Thank goodness the Team Baker….Continue Reading

Top 5: Into Nome Dallas Seavey, 4:04 a.m. Aliy Zirkle, 4:06 a.m. Mitch Seavey, 7:39 a.m. Joar Leifseth Ulsom, 10:01 a.m. Sonny Lindner, 11:50 a.m. Mushers out of the race: DeeDee Jonrowe, bib #16 Gus Guenther, bib #4 Mike Santos, bib #68 Linwood Fiedler, bib #32 Jim Lanier, bib #38 Jan Steves, bib #40 Cindy Gallea, bib #42 Karen Ramstead, bib #59 Jake Berkowitz, bib #37 Cindy Abbott, bib #46 Ellen Halverson, bib #24 Scott Janssen, bib #20 Lev Shvarts, bib #31 Ramey Smyth, bib #49 John Dixon, bib #45 Nicolas Petit, bib #29 Kelly Maixner, bib #13 Jeff King,….Continue Reading