Like the song says, “Let it Snow.” It may be Stan Hooley’s favorite holiday tune. At the very least, the Iditarod’s executive director hopes the yuletide classic is a sign of what’s to come. As usual, the race is scheduled to begin in Willow. That of course, doesn’t always happen. Rewind to last year when a warmer-than-usual winter led to a weather nightmare forcing the race to move its restart north to Fairbanks. Ten months later, there’s optimism. “Overall, I would say at this point we have more snow than we had last year at this point,” said Hooley, who’s been with the race for 22 years, and said….Continue Reading

While the last great race is still months away, the Iditarod button design contest already has a champion: Ayla Knodel, a fourth grader at Nome Elementary School. Knodel took first place in the annual contest that has Alaska students create artwork for the commemorative button sold along the trail each March. Having submitted her design early in the school year, though, she said she was surprised to learn of her victory late last month. “We were at the library, and Ms. T was like, ‘Remember the buttons we made? Guess who won?’ Everybody was like, ‘Who?’ and Ms. T grabbed me and gave….Continue Reading

Four-time champion Lance Mackey said he plans to race in the 2016 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. In a post on his Facebook page, Mackey thanked his fans for motivating him to race. It was thought the 2015 Iditarod could have been Mackey’s final Last Great Race. In an interview with Iditarod Insider last year, Mackey said: “I love this sport. I just can’t do it no more.” He lost two dogs along the trail, but still managed to finish the race into Nome with his brother at his side. Tests done on the dogs revealed no signs of abuse….Continue Reading

She was forced to take a step back from the sport she loves. But now, a Willow musher is making her comeback. Karin Hendrickson was badly injured when a truck slid off the road and crashed into her team last year. It’s been a long road to recovery, but she’s training for next year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Hendrickson signed up for the race last week. She says the pain from her accident is still with her every day, but sitting out another Iditarod is not in the plans.

Dallas Seavey often takes his mushing dogs for a walk but says he never leaves home. In fact, the dogs of the defending Iditarod champion don’t even leave their front yard, thanks to a treadmill Seavey installed two months ago inside a 50-foot refrigerated trailer. It’s Seavey’s way to keep his dogs active, especially during the summer. “Look at these guys, just lying around in the yard, lying around there doing nothing. It’s 90 degrees out,” Seavey joked. He says he came up with the idea for the treadmill about two years ago to help expand the training season. “I….Continue Reading

  DeeDee Jonrowe, who lost her Willow home and kennel to the Sockeye Fire earlier this month, has signed up for the 2016 Iditarod Sled Dog Race. “This is what I want to do; I’m doing what I want to do,” said Jonrowe. “I didn’t want to lose all my stuff. I didn’t want to go through all that. And I don’t want to see my mother deteriorate, but I want to run the Iditarod.” The Iditarod Trail Committee posted a photo on its Facebook page of Jonrowe at Saturday’s Iditarod 2016 sign up. A simple “Dee Dee will head to….Continue Reading

Tests done on the two dogs who died from Lance Mackey’s Iditarod 2015 team revealed no signs of abuse or pre-existing medical abnormalities. The Iditarod Trail Committee says a comprehensive evaluation of tissues was done on both dogs — 3-year-old Wyatt, who died on the trail between Tanana and Ruby on March 12, and 3-year-old Stiffy, who passed away between Elim and White Mountain on March 20. “No morphologic changes were detected that could definitively identify the cause of the deaths,” chief Iditarod veterinarian Stuart Nelson, Jr. said in a statement. “The most probable cause of death in each case was an acute….Continue Reading

Updated Sunday, 8 p.m. Aftershocks from the Nepal earthquake have left climbing conditions on Mount Everest unsafe. Steve Watkins and his team were evacuated by helicopter from camp one to base camp, says his girlfriend, Joy Chairusmi. She says they are now trying to decide whether to walk the rest of the way from base camp — or get another helicopter to fly them out of the area. Original story: Army veteran and 2015 Iditarod rookie Steve Watkins was unharmed, as of Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. The epicenter of the quake was 130….Continue Reading

Missing for weeks, Iditarod musher Laura Allaway’s runaway sled dog has been found, she says. “She is safe and sound and will be back home in Fairbanks tomorrow!!” Allaway wrote in a Facebook group dedicated to helping locate sled dog Sarabi. Allaway, who as a rookie finished in 46th place in Iditarod 43, made the decision to drop the 3-year-old Husky after the dog started to develop a sore shoulder on the trail. Her handler picked up Sarabi in Anchorage and had been taking care of her for about a week before the dog ran away on March 21. In addition to….Continue Reading

Iditarod 43 rookie musher Laura Allaway is reaching out to the public for help to find her sled dog that went missing after running away from an Anchorage handler. Allaway made the decision to drop the 3-year-old Alaskan Husky named Sarabi at the Nulato checkpoint because the dog was developing a sore shoulder. She hauled the Husky in her sled on and off for two days, massaging and applying heat to Sarabi’s shoulder, but the dog didn’t seem to be getting better. Allaway says her handler picked the dog up in Anchorage and was taking care of her for about a….Continue Reading

The final musher for Iditarod 43 made it to Nome Sunday evening. The Red Lantern goes to Cindy Abbott, who finished the Last Great Race in 13 days, 11 hours, 19 minutes and 51 seconds. The award is for the last musher who successfully crosses the burled arch. This was Abbott’s third attempt at finishing the Iditarod. By completing the race, she becomes the first female to summit Mount Everest and finish the Iditarod. “Everest took two months living on a mountain, and this took two weeks…or a little short of it,” said Abbott as she passed the finish line. “But,….Continue Reading

It was a moment 12 days, eight hours and 43 minutes in the making for Alan Stevens, as he crossed the finish line in Nome on Saturday. “I’m so happy to see him come in,” said Paula Stevens, Alan’s mother. Paula and her husband, Mark, made the trip from Texas to watch their son make his way into Nome. The 25-year old Texan-turned-Alaskan was an Iditarod rookie, running a team from Martin Buser’s kennel. There were tears from the whole family as he crossed under the burled arch. “He made it,” Paula said, as she hugged her husband. “I don’t even….Continue Reading

Iditarod 2015 musher Scott Janssen scratched just outside of the Koyuk checkpoint. Janssen said his team lost the trail, and they spent more than 12 hours stranded on the ice in the worst blizzard he’s ever seen. A search-and-rescue team found him hypothermic, with a sleeping bag draped over him and his 11 dogs. “I couldn’t move,” he said. “My left arm was frozen to my body.” SAR took him to the clinic at Koyuk, but Jannsen’s dog team stayed behind. “I was crying,” Janssen said. “I didn’t want to leave my dogs.” Fellow musher Lance Mackey came upon the team….Continue Reading

  Lance Mackey and his brother, Jason, came down Front Street in Nome side-by-side. The veteran musher’s finish of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race could be classified as solace amid many hardships. “He’s a survivor,” said Aaron Burmeister of Lance, who lost two dogs — Stiffy and Wyatt — along the trail. Jason finished the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race about 20 seconds headed of Lance at 10:32:15. Lance, who came in at 10:32:37, was greeted by lots of hugs and tears. Other Iditarod 2015 mushers — John Baker, Mitch and Dallas Seavey, Aaron Burmeister and Scott Janssen, among others….Continue Reading

Iditarod 2015 trail officials report another death of a dog on Lance Mackey’s team. At approximately 5:15 p.m. Friday, 3-year-old Stiffy passed away unexpectedly on the trail between Elim and White Mountain. The necropsy performed on Stiffy revealed some abnormalities, but the cause of death could not be determined, according to a release from Iditarod officials. Further testing will be conducted to finish the necropsy study. Wyatt, another dog on Mackey’s team, died along the trail between Tanana and Ruby on March 12. The necropsy done on Wyatt revealed no abnormalities that would explain his death, according to Iditarod Chief Veterinarian Stuart….Continue Reading

Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the Iditarod on March 20, 1985. Exactly thirty years later, she’s celebrating in Nome by watching this year’s mushers cross the finish line. “I can’t believe it’s been 30 years,” she said. “I think about some of these mushers racing today and I think I have dog harnesses older than some of them. I just wanted to be in Nome for this anniversary because Nome is such a special place.” Do you remember what you were feeling when you crossed that finish line? “I think it took a whole week to sink….Continue Reading

It wasn’t a typical Iditarod trail meal for volunteers on Thursday night. Deb Smykalski — who goes by Debski — has been the Iditarod’s cook for the past 10 years. She shipped up 28 steaks for a special dinner that she paid for herself. “They’ve been talking about, whoa, when are we going to have steak so I thought I’d surprise them and make it happen,” Smykalski said. Steak, crab, garlic bread, baked potatoes and salad were provided. Another volunteer supplied the crab. “She comes up from Texas every year. She gave money for us to buy crabs to go….Continue Reading

Dallas Seavey has done it again. Pulling under the wooden arch in Nome at 4:13 a.m with a total time of 8 days 18 hours 13 minutes 6 seconds, the 28-year-old veteran musher from Willow, Alaska won his second consecutive Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Wednesday. This is his third first-place finish, having also won in 2012.   He remained in the top 10 throughout much of the race. The turning point for Seavey came when he sliced through a 1-hour Aaron Burmeister lead heading from Shaktoolik into Koyuk. From there, he didn’t let up. Wearing Bib #46, Seavey pulled….Continue Reading

The best place for beer tasting in Nome for the Irish holiday wasn’t in a bar, it was on the Bering Sea. “I think it’s cool I’m standing on the ocean drinking beer,” said Ben Siwiec. In its fifth year, the Bering Sea Beer Festival was a Saint Patrick’s Day party with an Alaskan twist. “It’s why we live in Alaska,” said Kevin Burton, the head brewer at the Glacier Brewhouse in Anchorage. “We do things that are outside of town sometimes, on the beer ice.” Two magic words — “Free beer!” — quickly drew a crowd that happily made the trek….Continue Reading

While mushers of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are still making their way to Nome, another group of competitors crossed their own Nome finish line on Monday. Started in the year 2000, the Iditarod Trail Invitational — initially called the “Iditasport” — invites 50 people a year to test their mettle in three categories: running, biking and skiing. Participants can choose between two race lengths, 350 miles and 1,000 miles. The 1,000-mile race started from Knik Lake on March 1 and followed the Iditarod trail to Nome. Officials say it’s a race only 52 people have completed in its history.….Continue Reading