While mushers finish preparing their dog teams to take on the Iditarod, a KTVA team is gathering their gear and packing their bags to take on the trail, too. The KTVA crew won’t be traveling by sled, but by plane, helicopter and snowmachine. They’ll be documenting the historic race from the sky and by foot.
So, who will be on the trail? A dedicated crew focused on sharing the unique stories only the Iditarod can serve up. Watch our coverage on KTVA CBS 11, on KTVA.com and across social media.
John Thain, Photojournalist
I began work as a photojournalist in Alaska more then 5 years ago, which makes this my sixth Iditarod. I’m fortunate enough to be on the trail again with the best pilots, television engineers, and reporters I’ve ever worked with.
The images and stories on the trail can truly take your breath away, and that’s what brings me back.
This race pulls you in whether you are interested in dog mushing or not. It’s my goal to show you not just the stats, but the stories behind them.
Follow @JohnThain_CBS11 on Twitter.
Dave Goldman, Sports Director
Certainly, I’d heard about and seen pictures of the Iditarod growing up in New York, but the idea of actually finding my way to the trail? That was even farther away than the 4,400 miles which separated us.
Then in the summer of 2013, after covering the Washington, D. C. and Baltimore markets for 21 years, Alaska’s wild called. For a place as quiet as the Iditarod Trail, it speaks volumes.
This will be my fourth trip on the trail with KTVA. There’s nothing quite like running across the frozen Bering Sea ice, aided by a gentle tropical breeze, chasing — and finally catching equipment.
My wife Jenny and our two children, Hannah and Sam have also become huge fans of The Last Great Race. How could you not? Up here, we have our own version of “March Madness.” There really is no event which says “Alaska” more than the Iditarod and it’s an honor for me to represent KTVA and share stories from the trail with a wonderful group of people. We’re looking forward to telling you about some of the greatest athletes on earth—and their mushers too.
— Dave Goldman
Megan Edge, Multimedia Journalist
I’m happy to say I’m no longer a rookie Iditarod reporter on the trail. I made it all the way to Nome and even crossed under the Burled Arch last year — although I had to walk and wasn’t pulled through by dog sled.
Jokes aside, 2016 really put me to work. I almost fell asleep eating pizza the night I returned to Anchorage. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. There is nothing that compares to watching dog teams sprint beneath the northern lights, the conversations I had with friends, old and new, or the stories I had the opportunity to share from Skwentna to Nome.
This lifelong Alaska adventurer is still a sucker for a good story and is still awestruck by The Last Great Race. It will truly be an honor to cover the 2017 Iditarod race, mushers and the communities who work tirelessly to welcome and accommodate all of us.
— Megan Edge
Heather Hintze, Multimedia Journalist
I’m going on six years with KTVA and am a veteran of covering Iditarod. My first full race to Nome was in 2015, the last time Iditarod moved the restart to Fairbanks. That was the year temperatures on the trail hovered between minus 30 and minus 50 degrees, and I quickly learned just how important hand warmers are.
One of my favorite stops was in Huslia. The village has a rich mushing history but this was its first time as a checkpoint and the people were thrilled to welcome the dog teams. Huslia fun fact: There’s wifi in town, but no cell service to make calls, so people communicate via VHF radio.
I will also never forget talking with Scott Janssen, the “Mushing Mortician,” after the 2015 finish about how Lance Mackey ran his team into Koyuk after Scott had to be rescued. The checker said it looked like a ghost team leading Mackey’s pack.
I’m excited to be out on the trail again this year to tell the behind-the-scenes stories of the Last Great Race.
Everyone on deck
The faces seen above are the people who’ll spend every day chasing leaders and unique trail tales, but they’re just a small group of KTVA’s staff working to provide up-to-date race coverage on our news broadcasts — at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. — and online.
With John, Dave, Megan and Heather will be two remote location live crews providing the technical setup our team needs to deliver live reports from checkpoints, and to feed video and content back to Anchorage. We also have two veteran pilots with us, one flying a helicopter and another flying a caravan bush plane — but they do way more than that. They help us move gear, assist with set up and take down, and even give us a hand during a finale show on Front Street.
Back at the station our directors, producers, video editors and editorial staff help make sure the most current race standings, videos, photos, and unique trail stories are being shared to you as quickly as we can, so you can follow along the trail to Nome, too.
Without every member, none of this would be possible.
Where to find us…
- LIVE Ceremonial Start coverage at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Mar. 4 – Live on KTVA 11
- Restart from Fairbanks will air on GCI Channel 907 at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Mar. 6
- Watch morning updates at 6 a.m. on Daybreak, as well as on the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts.
- Follow us on Twitter @IditarodKTVA
- Follow us on Instagram @KTVA_ALASKA
- Like KTVA on Facebook
See you on the trail!
–The KTVA trail team