• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 52s

Photographer captures decades of Iditarod history

By James Gaddis 10:18 AM March 13, 2014

Photographer Jeff Schultz has captured the Last Great Race for the last 34 years.

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 people and pavement brought him to Alaska from California in 1978, just three months after his high school graduation. Photographing weddings, Schultz said he had a plan to make a name for himself when a special guest at a concert he was attending stood up to be introduced.

It was Joe Redington, known as the Father of the Iditarod.

“I thought to myself, ‘Hmm, famous Alaskan, great guy, unique event – I want to photograph his portrait, put it in my studio and then people will think, wow, you photographed Joe Redington?’” Schultz said. “And hopefully that would increase my business.”

Schultz followed up on his plan with a typed letter to Redington, who agreed to have his portrait taken and followed up with a request of his own.

“He said, ‘Well, you’re a photographer, come take pictures for us,’” Schultz said.

The rest, as they say, is history.

For the last 34 years, Schultz hasn’t missed a single race, photographing everything from the ceremonial start to the burled arch and everything in between. One year, the race nearly killed him: A plane crash between checkpoints in 1992 left Schultz with severe facial injuries that required four surgeries, five metal plates and 24 screws.

But the crash didn’t stop Schultz from climbing back into a plane, from where he went on to capture one of his most iconic images.

From National Geographic to Sports Illustrated, Schultz said his trip north more than 30 years ago has opened many doors.

“It was an adventure,” Schultz sad. “That’s what I came to Alaska for.”

Latest Stories

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: The real reason to observe Memorial Day

    by John Tracy on May 26, 16:48

    I don’t know what you’re doing this Memorial Day, but chances are it will bear little resemblance to the reason we observe it. Whether you consider it the official start of summer, or the time to get a great deal on an appliance, the origins of the holiday can be traced to one of the […]

  • Weather

    Dangerous fire conditions across southcentral Alaska this weekend

    by KTVA 11 News on May 26, 16:45

    A fire weather watch has been issued for the Susitna Valley and Copper River Basin for the Memorial Day weekend. The watch goes into effect on Friday afternoon and continues through Saturday evening. Over the weekend, temperatures are forecast to climb into the 60s and 70s across southcentral Alaska. The warming temperatures, along with low relative […]

  • Politics

    Trump agrees to debate Sanders; Fox News is ‘interested’

    by Associated Press on May 26, 16:10

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Donald Trump is welcoming Bernie Sanders’ proposal that they meet in a debate but is setting a high price for participating. His condition: The hosting TV network would have to put up millions of dollars for charity. Representatives for Fox News and ABC News say the networks are “interested” in hosting such […]

  • Crime

    Drunk man steals front end loader, smashes it into liquor store and runs from police

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 26, 12:51

      ANCHORAGE — An intoxicated man led Anchorage police on a chase early Thursday morning after stealing a front end loader from a construction site, then crashing it into a liquor store and stealing booze. Police were called to the Brown Jug Liquor store at 2200 Northern Lights Blvd. around 3:20 a.m. Thursday after a […]

  • Crime

    Two men arrested in connection with East Anchorage shootings

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 26, 12:25

    The Anchorage Police Department has arrested and charged two men in connection with two East Anchorage shootings Thursday. According to a release from APD, both shootings happened just after 11 a.m. Thursday. Police said they were first notified of an incident involving a gun at the 4300 block of E. 9th Avenue. Police were told […]

  • News

    Alaska Wildlife Troopers to sell 121-foot law enforcement vessel

    by Associated Press on May 26, 11:06

    The state is selling a 121-foot law enforcement vessel used for investigating commercial fishing violations. Public safety officials say the loss of the Kodiak-based Woldstad for budget reasons means more violations will go undetected by Alaska Wildlife State Troopers. A civilian crew of four operated the vessel. Those jobs will be eliminated, saving the state […]

  • Weather

    Garden Report: Memorial Day planting leads to Labor Day harvest

    by Rachael Penton on May 26, 10:54

    Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the outside planting season in Southcentral Alaska. The growing season is short, so there’s no time to waste when it comes to getting your summer vegetable gardens started. Darryl Leiser of Dimond Greenhouse in Anchorage says that cold climate plants like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and […]

  • Crime

    Man charged with murder in South Anchorage gas station shooting

    by Eric Ruble on May 26, 8:37

    The man accused of shooting another man to death at a South Anchorage gas station was arraigned in jail court Thursday afternoon. Nineteen-year-old Brandon Merritt was killed Wednesday night in front of a Abbott Road Holiday gas station. Andrew Robertson-Goughnour, 23, has been charged with first-and-second-degree murder in connection with Merritt’s death. According to charging […]