Our favorite 30 photos from the snowy 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start

two dogs: one looking ahead and one looking back
Musher Yuka Honda’s dogs excitedly wait to run again after recovering from a notoriously tight turn on the 11-mile Anchorage ceremonial start to the Iditarod race. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Forty-nine mushers and hundreds of sled dogs dashed 11-miles through a snowy Anchorage on Saturday for the ceremonial start of the 2022 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

People lined downtown streets and city trails to give mushers high-fives and take photos. Kids collected candy and dog booties tossed by mushers as they glided by.

It was the first ceremonial start since 2020. Last year’s was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some fans on Saturday, including Anchorage resident Julie Sweetin, said it felt great to be back to “normal-ish.”

“This is our big crew of friends in Alaska, like we have friends who came up from Homer, from Kenai, from Talkeetna — all over,” she said. “And the last big party we all had, especially in a public place, was Iditarod 2020. Right before the world shut down. So this is full circle for us, definitely.”

Here’s our favorite photos from the day:

The Funk siblings showed up to the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in matching snowsuits that their grandmother bought them. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A man with a light blue parka holds his arms up as he stands on a sled in heavy snow. A nother man in a fur-ruffed parka sits on the sled in front of him and crowds watch on the sidelines.
Wearing bib #3, Jeff King waves to fans at the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage. A four-time winner of the Iditarod, King was asked to tap-in for Nic Petit who tested positive for COVID earlier in the week. As part of his last-minute preparation for the race, he had to try to get to know Petit’s dogs, who he compared to enthusiastic golden retrievers. On course, he’ll have to make due with supplies that Petit shipped out, and King said he’s hoping the trail snacks the frenchman packed won’t be too strange. “I’m hoping it’s not full of french sardines or something,” he said. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A man with reddish hair and wearing a thick black parka and a white bib stares ahead in heavy snow.
Wearing bib #7, musher Jessie Holmes of Brushkana drives his dog team through the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A woman dressed in black snow gear wearing a bib #9 holds a dog that's tied up to a sled with a bunch of people in the background
Anna Berrington prepares for the ceremonial start of the 50th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Saturday, March 5, 2022 in downtown Anchorage. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
Ruth Garcia provides sign language translations for the 2022 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start in Anchorage. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
Sonora Troger (left) and Josh Troger (right) wear dog balaclavas as they cheer on mushers at the Anchorage ceremonial start to the 2022 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. They just moved to Seattle and are celebrating Sonora’s 30th birthday. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A white man with glasses and a beard holds a black and orangish dog
Iditarod Rookie Eric Kelly of Knik holds his dog Stealie, named after a Grateful Dead album. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)
Wearing bib #17, musher Ryan Redington drives his dog team through the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A man wearing a black parka and a white bib #20 smiles as he rides through buildings
Wearing bib #20, musher Dallas Seavey drives his dog team through the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage on March 5, 2022 (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A man wearing a blue parka and bib #22 drives a sled towed by 14 dogsthrough a city streetscape in snow
Wearing bib #22, musher Joe Taylor drives his dog team through the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage on March 5, 2022. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A man wearing a red cap and with a white cigarette in his mouth raises his hand as heavy snow falls
Aaron Burmeister heads out on the start of the Iditarod in downtown Anchorage on March 5, 2022. Burmeister has run the race 20 times, and finished in second place last year, but said that his team was as strong as it’s ever been this year. Still, he said his Nenana-based team prefers cooler weather. “We’ll be maybe going slow the first couple few days but that’s fine — it’s early in the race and as the race kicks up, we’ll start shifting gears,” he said. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)
A person in a sled gives high fives
Iditarod musher Kristy Berington and here IditaRider get high-fives on the Chester Creek Trail during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start on Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Anchorage. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)
From left to right, Peter Su, Rylin Sonaerook, Morgan Su (in the stroller), Virgil Sonaerook, and Kelly Su cheer on mushers as they pass by during the Anchorage ceremonial start to the 2022 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The Sus just moved to Anchorage, and the Sonaerooks are originally from St. Lawrence Island. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A man in an orange parka waves to the crowd with his hand on a sled runner
Brent Sass waves to the crowd on 4th Avenue at the ceremonial start of the 50th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Saturday, March 5, 2022 in downtown Anchorage. “It looks better than it did last week,” Sass said of the weather. “Last week it was 40 degrees everywhere now the temperatures started going down a little bit, but we’ll take whatever we get.” One of the prerace favorites, Sass has won 3 of 3 middistance races he’s started this year. He placed third in the Iditarod last year. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A white man wearing bib 28 grimaces as snow flies into his face
Chatanika musher Dan Kaduce heads out on the trail at the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage on March 5, 2022. Kaduce recently won the 200 mile version of the Yukon Quest in Fairbanks. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
From left to right, Vicky Steward, Syisha Steward, David Steward, and Stormy Long cheer on mushers as they pass by. They traveled from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to watch and volunteer with the 2022 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
people line a snowy trail and give high fives to a musher
Matt Hall gives high-fives along the Chester Creek Trail during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)
A team of dogs pulls a sled in heavy snowfall
Two Rivers musher Ryne Olson heads out on trail for the 50th running of the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage on March 5, 2022. “Once you’re on the trail, you only have one thing you have to focus on versus right now there’s, you’re still like trying to keep track of everything,” Olson said before the race start. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A woman bows her head wearing a helmet to cuddle with two blond sled dogs as heavy snow falls.
Rookie Bridgett Watkins has a quiet moment with her lead dogs. One of them, Razz, stayed by her side during a harrowing moose attack last month that seriously injured several of her dogs, and traumatized Watkins, an ER nurse in Fairbanks. “It has been is taking everything in my power to get to the starting line so there’s going to be some celebration,” she said in an interview in late February. Watkins left the start line of the ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage wearing bib 36 on March 5, 2022 (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)
Athena Gianopoulos (left) brought a sign to the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in hopes of finding a “missed connection” she’d met a couple months ago. One thing they had in common was an interest in the Iditarod. Her mother Debbie Weeks (right) came out to help. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A person in a big fur-ruffed parka sleeps on a sled
Veteran musher Martin Buser takes a quick rest on his sled before the start of the 50th Iditarod. Buser has finished the Iditarod 48 times. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)
a musher waves from the back of a sled on a snowy day
Gerhardt Thiart waves to people cheering along the Chester Creek Trail during the 2022 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage. Thiart kept huskies at his home near Capetown, South Africa when an acquaintance mentioned the Iditarod about 20 years ago. Thiart ordered some DVDs about the race and made his way to Alaska via Michigan. “Not in a million years I would have believed I will be standing here,” Thiart said. He’s racing with dogs from Mitch Seavey’s kennel and raising money for a foundation he set up to help American Army veterans. Thiart served in the South African army, and saw combat in Angola. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)
A woman in a black parka wearing a white bib holds onto dog sled handlbars in heavy snow as some people watch from behind her
Karin Hendrickson heads out on course on the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage on March 5, 2022 (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
people wearing furs take a selfie
Two people wearing furs take a selfie during the Anchorage ceremonial start to the 2022 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A man dressed in a denim jacket drinks a coke zero wearing an orange safety helmet
Rookie Matt Paveglio dressed up as Larry the Enticer, a Canadian YouTuber famous for snowmachine stunts. Paveglio said he’s using the costume to spread love of mushing and to make sure he doesn’t take himself too seriously. “Cotton does kill, I’m approaching hypothermia,” he said. “I’m a moron.” (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)
A woman in a furruffed parka drives a sled through heavy snow with a person in a thick down jacket sits in a sled in front of her
Wearing bib #47, musher Apayauq Reitan drives her dog team and Iditarider Warren Schweitzer around a notoriously tough turn during the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage. Reitan’s sled is waving the Trans Pride flag. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A woman holding a blue and pink striped flag in a snow storm
Shannon Cole waves a Trans Pride flag at the Anchorage ceremonial start of the 2022 Iditarod to celebrate Apayauq Reitan, the first out trans woman to run the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
A woman driving a sled nearly tips it over as dogs ru in front of her in heavy snow
Musher Yuka Honda, bib #49, takes a fall at a notoriously tight turn during the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
three people in a dog sled caravan: a person in the sled, a person in a Dr. Seuss hat, and another with the Ukrainian flag
Wearing bib #50, musher Hugh Neff drives his dog team around a notoriously tough turn during the 2022 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage. His caravan is waving the Ukrainian flag. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
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Lex Treinen covers culture, homelessness, politics and corrections for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at ltreinen@alaskapublic.org.
Tegan Hanlon is the deputy digital editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at thanlon@alaskapublic.org.

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