Offizielle Yukon Quest Seite: http://www.yukonquest.com
At the "top of the world", in the Yukon and Alaska wilderness of northwestern North America, an epic winter sports event takes place every February, the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Covering 1,000 miles between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska during the depths of the Arctic winter, the Yukon Quest is known for excellence in canine care and fostering the traditions of northern travel by dog sled.
The Yukon Quest has been run every year since 1984 over the 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of rough, sometimes hazardous terrain between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska. The Yukon Quest Race Start alternates annually between these two host cities.
This incredible winter sports event takes place every February when weather conditions can be the coldest and sometimes the most unpredictable of the year. The Yukon Quest race starts on schedule regardless of weather and lasts from 10 to 16 days until the final dog team arrives at the Finish Line, depending on weather and trail conditions.
The Yukon Quest Trail follows historic Gold Rush and Mail Delivery dog sled routes from the turn of the 20th Century. Once the transportation "highways" of the Northern frontier, the Yukon Quest Trail now only comes alive during February when the frosty breath and haunting howls of hundreds of sled dogs return to these historic routes. Dog teams consisting of one human 'musher' and their 14 canine athletes, travel for two weeks, racing across some of the last pristine wilderness remaining in North America.
The Yukon Quest is dedicated to excellence in canine care. Yukon Quest mushers are coaches, cooks, cheerleaders, and companions to their dogs and Yukon Quest sled dogs are elite, marathon athletes. Bred from stock that survived and thrived during the Klondike Gold Rush, no animal on earth can match them for endurance, dedication and their ability to perform in the extreme conditions of the North.
A maximum of 50 mushers and their sled dog teams are allowed, and the purse is shared between the first 15 finishing teams, with all teams completing the race receiving $1,000 in recognition of the 1,000 mile trail. The Yukon Quest Champion will take home $35,000. Dog team drivers (mushers) must be at least 18 years old by the race start date and must have demonstrated their ability to successfully complete a 200-mile and a 300-mile sled dog race to be allowed to enter the Yukon Quest.
The spirit of the Yukon Quest is still true to its northern soul. Mushers carry mandatory equipment, food and supplies at all times. They cannot replace their dog sleds without penalty, and are not permitted to accept any assistance, except in Dawson City, the home of the Klondike Gold Rush and the half-way point of the race. The Yukon Quest Trail runs across frozen rivers, climbs four mountain ranges, and passes through isolated, northern villages. With temperatures hitting 40 below, 100 mile-an-hour winds, open water and bad ice all working against the teams, the Yukon Quest is a true test of the capacity of humans and canines, and a tribute to the strength of the ancient bond that unites them.
Ten checkpoints lie along the Yukon Quest Trail, including the Start and Finish lines, some checkpoints are more than 200 miles apart. Teams are truly on their own, relying on a combination of toughness and skill, the commitment and endurance of the dogs, and sometimes luck. Race updates provide up-to-the-minute information on dog teams' positions, progress and times as mushers check in and out of race checkpoints. Five dog drops, or veterinary stations, are also strategically positioned along the race route, offering additional locations where race veterinarians are available to the mushers and their dog teams.
All Yukon Quest dogs are checked by the race veterinarians and supported by the Yukon Quest Veterinary Program at checkpoints and dog drops throughout the race. Race veterinarians ensure that every dog is fit to continue before their team departs from race checkpoints or dog drops.