Iditapod: The ol’ Norwegian switcheroo, and the old guard passes the mantle

Joar Ulsom at the Rainy Pass checkpoint early in the 2018 Iditarod. (Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media photo)

There was a major shakeup at the front of the 2018 Iditarod on Monday, when Joar Leifseth Ulsom slipped past previous leader Nicolas Petit while Petit lost the trail on the Bering Sea coast between Shaktoolik and Koyuk. The table is now set for Ulsom, first to White Mountain and only 77 miles from the finish in Nome, to win his first Iditarod championship and the first for a Norwegian — or anybody else not originally from the U.S. — since 2005. But, as we hear in this episode, a lead and a long rest at White Mountain hasn’t always translated to a win. Meantime, many of mushing’s old guard are happy to pass the mantle to the next generation of elite mushers (not including defending champ Mitch Seavey, still mushing near the front in third place).