Iditapod 2018

The Iditapod is back! In partnership with KNOM Radio, Alaska Public Media brings you a podcast about the 2018 Iditarod. Host Casey Grove and correspondents, Zachariah Hughes and Davis Hovey, will take you out on the trail — into checkpoints, down along the sea ice and across the finish line in Nome. Hear interviews with mushers, behind-the-scenes news, and in-depth race analysis you won’t find anywhere else. You can listen to the Iditapod here or subscribe on iTunes or whichever podcast app you use.

Support for the 2018 Iditapod from Alaska Public Media is brought to you by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

Iditapod: A look back at the 2017 Iditarod

In Episode 1, we take a look back at the 2017 Iditarod and hear some of the boots-on-the-ground perspective on Mitch Seavey's record-breaking speed, the physical toll on his son Dallas Seavey and more from our reporters on the trail: Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes and Ben Matheson, who was working for Nome radio station KNOM.

Iditapod: What the heck is happening?

We look at three major problems hitting Alaska's mushing community ahead of the Iditarod. The Anchorage Daily News' Tegan Hanlon and Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes sit down with host Casey Grove to discuss the whirlwind of recent news, including a doping scandal, musher mutiny, and increasing pressure from animal rights groups.

Iditapod: Race clock ticking after Willow restart

Mushers in the 2018 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are officially on course for the 1,000-mile trek to Nome after the restart in Willow. We take a rather, uh, unique question from a listener, and Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes does whatever it takes to get an interview.

Iditapod: An icon drops out, 24-hour rests and dog-doping reignites

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.

Iditapod: Up the coast, DeeDee in UNK and oh snaps! Plus, Dallas Seavey in Norway

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.

Iditapod: Wrapping up from Nome

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.

Iditapod: Petit leads, but how did we get here? Plus: Fantasy mushing..?!

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.

Iditapod: The season so far and a look ahead

We talk about this year's Kuskokwim 300, touch on the importance of mid-distance mushing races leading up to the Iditarod and talk to KUAC-FM reporter Zoe Rom about covering the Yukon Quest, Alaska's other 1,000-mile sled dog race. Also: We talk about the Anchorage ceremonial start, who we expect to see running at the front of the pack and answer our first listener question!

Iditapod: Race day 2, plus Rookie of the Year contenders

In less than 24 hours, the Iditarod front-runners have made it to the Finger Lake checkpoint, 123 miles into the 1,000-mile race. But not before checking in at Yentna and Skwentna, the first two checkpoints after leaving Willow. And, even before that, KNOM's Davis Hovey caught up with two top candidates for Rookie of the Year: Two Rivers' Matt Hall and Nenana's Jessie Holmes.

Iditapod: Scramble in Anvik, slog up the Yukon and Takotna survives on pies

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.

Iditapod: A new Norwegian champ, and the runner-up reflects

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.

Iditapod: First to the Yukon, Alaska Native mushers and a bison encounter

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.

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

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).