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: 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).

Iditapod: Anchorage ceremonial start and the trail-side parties

The 2018 Iditarod kicks off with the ceremonial start in Anchorage and an 11-mile jaunt through downtown and the city's trails, past race revelers that call themselves "trailgaters." We introduce KNOM News Director and trail reporter Davis Hovey, and hear from DeeDee Jonrowe, Nicolas Petit and some of the folks along the trail.

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: 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: 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: Leaders into Iditarod, where to 24 and snack attack returns!

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.

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: Race day 3, and tricky mushing out of Rainy Pass

Things get pretty technical for Iditarod mushers heading out of the Rainy Pass checkpoint and into the Dalzell Gorge before Rohn and Nikolai. Plus, we hear from animal-rights activist and documentary filmmaker Fern Levitt, and we get four-time Iditarod Jeff King's take on criticism of dog mushing.

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: 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: 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.