GPS Tracking of the Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race

16 Feb 2017

The Yukon Quest 300 Sled Dog Race has once again welcomed all mushers this 2017 year. The race was located in Whitehorse, Yukon and was held on February 4th at 3pm PST with live GPS tracking found here to track the racers.

This race is held for any mushers who enjoy the experience of the Yukon Quest Trail. It is commonly known as a 300-mile race for both the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Originally, the Yukon Quest 1000 Mile Race was named after “highway of the north”. This is the historical winter land and Yukon River routes that adventurers, prospectors and mail and supply carriers traveled between the gold fields of the Alaska interior and the Klondike.

The Yukon Quest Origins

Back in 1983, there were four  mushers in Alaska at the Bull’s Eye Saloon located in Fairbanks who sat around a table and discussed the “what ifs” of a new sled dog race. Some questions they came up with included:

  • What if a historical trail was used for the race?
  • What if the sled dog race was international?
  • What if it could be a longer race?
  • What if the trail extended to the Yukon River?

This type of race was discussed before in 1976, however, it didn’t become more than a discussion until the four mushers (Leroy Shank, Roger Williams, William Lipps and Ron Rosser) who sat around that table that day began having the conversation. In order to commemorate the Yukon River, they came up with Yukon Quest for the name of the race.

Sled dogs power the Yukon Quest and they are the race’s entire heart and soul. One main principle of the Yukon Quest is excellent care for the dogs and a great deal of encouraging, educating and demanding high-quality care for the dogs is part of this care.

The initial Yukon Quest 1000 race tested the talents and logistics of all participants. In 1984, there were 26 teams that left Fairbanks with 20 teams arriving in Whitehorse during the following 16 days. Along the way, 6 teams dropped out of the race.

The first Yukon Quest champion was Sonny Lindner who completed the race in a little more than 12 days.

In the YQ300 Quest, just about everyone was consumed with using the GPS tracking website to theorize what was occurring on the trail’s remote parts, predict the arrival of the mushers and keep an eye on the various checkpoints.

The race strategy advanced followers would use the ‘race flow’ view feature which showed each team as a line on a graph of distance and time. It showed the number and duration of rests each dog team took.

The champion of the Yukon Quest 300 race was Michelle Phillips winning her third time after she led her 12-dog team over the Pelly Crossing finish line.

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