Tuesday, February 14

It Really Is The Toughest Dog Sled Race

Feeding the dogs after the storm.

Five Yukon Quest teams had to be airlifted out yesterday when the weather turned extremely nasty.
Late Sunday afternoon, a winter storm decended on the Yukon Quest Trail bringing high winds and heavy snowfall. The usual 4-5 hour leg between Mile 101 and Central Checkpoint dragged on for several teams, and stopped others in their tracks....

With 5 Yukon Quest and 10 Yukon Quest 300 mushers and [a] lost dog team unaccounted for, Yukon Quest officials mounted a ground-based search from both Central and Mile 101 to learn the whereabouts of all the participants. When snowmachine drivers reported being unable to reach Eagle Summit due to the weather conditions at the time, and also reporting not seeing any teams in motion, Officials called for an air-based search.

Five Yukon Quest teams were located just below Eagle Summit, and helicopter support personnel were able to air-lift these teams back to Mile 101....

As air-lifts brought the final mushers and dogs off of Eagle Summit and down to Mile 101, it was confirmed that all participants were OK.
Read the rest.

From the Toronto Star:
A gruelling, 1600-km dogsled race turned into a high-drama rescue when a blinding blizzard trapped a number of teams on a mountain in Alaska Sunday night and left many of them stranded throughout yesterday.

Mushers and their dogs fought metre-high snowdrifts and zero visibility as they struggled against the elements and attempted to find the course - a diabolically challenging route from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse in the Yukon.
The sighs of relief were heard round the North. There were many worried handlers and families yesterday until things were resolved in the afternoon.

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