Alaska Public Media's reporter on the Iditarod Trail, Zachariah Hughes, talks from Nome about the scene there as race finishers mush into town, and KNOM interviews with third-place finisher Mitch Seavey shed some light on his race, including a tough trail along the Bering Sea coast and becoming better friends with Joar Leifseth Ulsom (the new champ!) and runner-up Nicolas Petit. Plus, we go rapid-fire with questions about how fast the dogs run, trail mail and the Burled Arch.
The Iditarod has crowned a new Norwegian champion: Joar Leifseth Ulsom. The 31-year-old pulled under Nome’s Burled Arch at 3 a.m. Wednesday with eight dogs in harness to claim his first championship, taking the win in Iditarod 46. Ulsom is the first Norwegian musher to win the thousand-mile sled dog race since Robert Sørlie in 2005. Girdwood's Nicolas Petit arrived a little over two hours later, and he spoke to reporters about how his race went and where it went wrong.
The 31-year-old Norwegian is the first musher to disrupt the Seavey dynasty, in a grueling race that has dragged on longer than recent years. Listen now
Coinciding with the Iditarod sled dog race, Unalakleet issued an emergency ordinance to address loose dogs running free around the community. Many residents complained about a problem, and not everyone is happy with the solution.
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).
Currently, the top of the Iditarod leader-board is filled out with younger mushers, most of them in their 20s and 30s — the race’s up-and-comers. Many esteemed members of mushing’s old guard are content to watch a new generation inherit the mantel. Listen now
The three mushers leading this year’s Iditarod pack passed through Unalakleet yesterday afternoon. The racers arrived in very differing shape, offering signs of what could be ahead in the last stretch toward Nome.
It's Monday and the frontrunners in the 2018 Iditarod are on the Bering Sea coast, venturing out on a trail over sea ice from Shaktoolik to Koyuk. Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes caught up with the top three -- Nicolas Petit, Mitch Seavey, Joar Leifseth Ulsom -- in Unalakleet on Sunday, as well as the legendary musher DeeDee Jonrowe, who scratched earlier in what she says was her last Iditarod after 36 total starts. We also hear from a Norwegian mushing reporter on four-time Iditarod champ Dallas Seavey's foray into the Finnmarksløpet, Europe's longest sled dog race.
As Girdwood's Nicolas Petit, Norwegian Joar Leifseth Ulsom and defending champ Mitch Seavey lead a chase pack to Unalakleet and the Bering Sea coast, we talk to Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes about how the 2018 Iditarod shaped up like this and how that chase pack got so bunched up. Also on today's Iditapod, we have a report from KCAW's Katherine Rose about a way for Iditarod fans around the world to get connected to the race: fantasy mushing.
With the Iditarod leaders on the mighty Yukon River and through the village checkpoint of Grayling, we hear about how weather prevented flying supplies to Eagle Island and caused the checkpoint to be downgraded to a mere "hospitality stop." That's why mushers scrambled to get mandatory rest in earlier and why they had to load up on supplies before one of the most formidable overnight trips of the race. Plus, back in Takotna, the village reflects on why it's been so steady as a checkpoint over the years, and we hear from KYUK's Johanna Eurich about what it used to be like covering the Last Great Race.
Fewer than ten mushers out of the 67 competing in this year’s Iditarod are Alaska Native. The only Inupiaq musher to win the Iditarod, John Baker of Kotzebue, is not racing this year, so it now falls to other competitors to bring home the championship. Listen now
This year's Iditarod has hit what could prove the defining moment in who wins the race. Joar Ulsom pushed his 24-hour rest all the way to the Iditarod checkpoint, arriving Wednesday evening while his main competitors were posted up in towns further down the trail.
Friday morning saw Girdwood musher Nicolas Petit charge ahead leading the 2018 Iditarod to Anvik after passing teams resting in the ghost town checkpoint of Iditarod. As the first to reach the Yukon River, Petit is treated to a five-course meal. The main course is bison, which is an animal Whitehorse's Marcelle Fressineau encountered very much alive and not on a dinner plate farther back on the trail. We talk to Fressineau about how she fended off the bison with an axe, as well as some of the Alaska Native mushers in the race.
As Iditarod mushers decide when and where to take their mandatory 24-hour layovers, the leaders are in to the ghost town of Iditarod. And our trail reporters are breaking into their snack packs! Also, we hear from a Takotna elder about the moose he shot and fed at the village checkpoint.
A lot has happened since the last podcast: Willow musher DeeDee Jonrowe has scratched in her 36th Iditarod, which she said would be her last. Meantime, front-of-the-pack mushers are taking their 24-hour layovers, so this is a good time to talk about how times are adjusted to correct from the staggered, every-two-minute race starts. Plus: More off-trail drama related to dogs and drugs! Sheesh! We talk to a fellow Iditarod reporter about what has been described as a confrontational encounter between the race's head toxicologist and a musher right before the official start on Sunday.
A small crowd gathered next to burning logs and a large welcome banner as Mitch Seavey arrived first to Takotna checkpoint in a light snow Tuesday night. Listen now