Iditapod: A Norwegian coasts up the coast

As front-of-the-pack Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race mushers head up the Bering Sea coast from Unalakleet to Shaktoolik and Koyuk, Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner has put his sled dog team solidly out front. There's still a group of competitive mushers behind him, though, and as we like to say often, anything can still happen. We'll hear a little from Waerner about what will likely be a difficult time getting his dog team home to Norway amid coronavirus-related travel restrictions, as well as from 2019 Iditarod champ Pete Kaiser about how a stomach-flu-like sickness hit him on the trail.

Iditapod: Whistlin’ to Shaktoolik, and some mid-pack collegiality

Norway's Thomas Waerner was the first to Unalakleet and the coast of Alaska in the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. But there's a storm coming and several good teams behind him. Meantime, back up the trail in Galena, Alaska Public Media’s Zachariah Hughes observed the collegial bonds among two mushers running in the middle of the pack who are at very different stages in their race and in their lives. That and much more, including another dog profile, on this latest episode of the Iditapod.

Iditapod: Iditarod CEO says ‘things can change minute by minute’

While Iditarod sled dog teams continue to mush toward the coast, the Iditapod is at home hiding under a table, in a makeshift recording studio. But we still have a report from the trail about how the mushers are learning about changes at checkpoints due to concern from coronavirus. Also in this episode: How Jessie Royer's sled caught fire, an interview with Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach, Snack Attack with Ben and Zach is back and much more (including a dog profile).

Iditapod: The last sport standing

Welcome to the Iditapod, a podcast about - what else? - the Iditarod, which is, perhaps the only major sporting event still happening -- anywhere. Yep, hanging out by yourself with a pack of dogs is starting to seem better and better every day. It’s Friday the 13th, and there’s plenty of scary news out there to worry even the least superstitious among us. We talked coronavirus with new Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach and have a story from the trail about mushers’ first reactions to hearing about the virus's impacts elsewhere. We also have a story about John Schandelmeier and how the heck he got into this race, as well as a listener question, an answer to that question, and a dog profile.

Iditapod: Coronavirus concerns and the Last Great Race

When it comes to concern about the coronavirus, the Iditarod is no exception. In Nome, the city council is considering calling off Iditarod festivities, and we’re also hearing about a big announcement coming from the Iditarod itself, though we’ve been told by someone close to the race that they are not going to be canceling the rest of Iditarod altogether. Meantime, we have a more positive update about Jeff King's health status, a race update, a story about a volunteer passing time tinkering on an old chainsaw, a listener question about who's the best dog whisperer and another dog profile, this one about Juke, in Karin Hendrickson's team.

Iditapod: All the Iditarod feels

The Iditarod can be a cathartic experience, with all those good dogs, bad dogs, #uglydogs… In this episode we catch up on the race and discuss how it's nearly impossible to analyze who's really in the lead as mushers start to take their mandatory 24-hour layovers at different checkpoints. Alaska Public Media's Tegan Hanlon has a story about Jeff King's substitute Sean Underwood, AKPM's Zach Hughes and Ben Matheson take in the Blood Moon in Takotna, we have a somewhat surprising answer to a listener question, and Brent Sass talks about his lead dog, Jeep.

Iditapod bonus: Anchorage interview with Sean Underwood

Sean Underwood got the surprise of a lifetime last week. The 28-year-old musher found out four days before the start of the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that he'd be competing in the event. Long-time musher and four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King had to drop out of the race at the very last minute, and tapped Sean, one of his dog handlers, to fill in.

Iditapod: Home, home in the Alaska Range

With plenty of snow on the Iditarod Trail this year, some of the more technical runs have not been as difficult as years past. But the Happy River steps and the Dalzell Gorge are always a challenge, and Alaska Public Media's Tegan Hanlon joins Iditapod host Casey Grove to discuss why we call both of those sections "technical."

Iditapod: Sparky Doo Dah and the Rookies

It’s Monday, and Iditarod sled dog teams are heading into their second full day of racing after the official start yesterday in Willow. From there they mushed west to the Yentna checkpoint about 50 miles into the race, on to Skwentna at about 80 miles, and the front-of-the-pack teams are already heading up and up and up into the Alaska Range, toward the mountainous checkpoint of Rainy Pass.

Iditapod bonus: Anchorage interview with Quince Mountain

The Iditarod rookie came in for a rather lengthy interview last week. We talked about his past and present, and, among other things, Quince’s experiences being transgender. As far as we know, he’s the first openly trans person in the Iditarod.

Iditapod: An Iditarod restart switcheroo (and more snow)

The 2020 Iditarod began in earnest Sunday with the official restart in Willow, where, to the surprise of many, musher John Schandelmeier replaced his wife, Zoya Denure, who reportedly had some last-second health issues. What wasn't a surprise, at least for this winter, was more snow!

Iditapod: Iditarod ceremonial start, and a participatory parade

The Iditapodders took to the streets of downtown Anchorage, and the trails of midtown Anchorage, for the ceremonial start of the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Alaska Public Media reporters Zachariah Hughes and Tegan Hanlon joined Iditapod host Casey Grove in talking to mushers, but then Casey hopped on a sled with Quince Mountain, riding the entire 11-mile course. AKPM reporter Liz Ruskin also joined in with an audio postcard from the trail-side parties.

Iditapod: Without a King, but plenty of snow

On the eve of Iditarod 2020, we discuss four-time champion Jeff King dropping out due to a medical emergency, how his rookie handler is taking King's top-notch team, and how heavy snow along the Iditarod Trail (a trench in places) will surely affect this year's race. Host Casey Grove is joined in the studio by Alaska Public Media reporters Tegan Hanlon and Zachariah Hughes.

Iditapod bonus: Anchorage interview with Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach

This year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will be the first for its new CEO Rob Urbach, who took over in July. Urbach came to the Iditarod after six years as CEO of USA Triathlon and, previously, had worked in sports marketing and management.

Iditapod: We’re live!

Instead of hiding in our cozy little radio studio at Alaska Public Media or out on the sparsely populated Iditarod Trail, we took the Iditapod to the Beartooth Theatrepub in Anchorage on Monday, March 2 for a live, onstage event, where about 300 people joined reporters Zachariah Hughes, Tegan Hanlon and Casey Grove for a wide-ranging discussion with Iditarod mushers Jessica Klejka, Matthew Failor and Jeff King.

Iditapod bonus: Fairbanks interview with Brent Sass

Three-time Yukon Quest champion dog musher Brent Sass is headed back to Alaska’s other thousand mile sled dog race, the Iditarod, after some trial and tribulation.

Iditapod: Looking back at 2019 Iditarod, this year’s 300-milers and Yukon Quest

...and we're back! Kicking off the 2020 Iditapod, host Casey Grove and Alaska Public Media trail reporter Zachariah Hughes discuss the 2019 running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, as well as the 2020 Copper Basin 300 (briefly) and the Kuskokwim 300 (at length). And Casey talks to three-time Yukon Quest champion Brent Sass about his recent victory in that other thousand-mile sled dog race and his impending return to the Iditarod.

2019 Iditapod epilogue

The 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is over, and we left off in our last episode with a lot of loose ends. So here's to tying up loose ends, maybe a minor correction and hoisting the Red Lantern and other awards we failed to mention earlier! Also: We play "Can't Let It Go," because, frankly, we can't get over -- or done with -- the Iditapod. See you next year!

Iditapod: A new trio of elite women mushers

It happened, because Paige Drobny made it happen: The top 10 of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race includes three women for the first time ever. Fans of Drobny, Aliy Zirkle and Jessie Royer are ecstatic, as are some Bethel residents who were cheering on 2019 Iditarod champion Pete Kaiser. We hear from them in this episode, plus a lightning round of questions and... a couple special guests!

Iditapod: Kaiser Racing team hangs on for first Iditarod win

That’s right: Iditarod has a new champion. And it’s really looking like we’re going to have three women in the top 10 for the first time in 47 years for the Last Great Race. As for the pride and swelling hearts of Bethel, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, maybe all of Western Alaska, Peter Kaiser and eight dogs crossed under the Burled Arch in Nome at 3:39 a.m. Alaska time Wednesday trailed only 12 minutes later by the 2018 champ, Joar Leifseth Ulsom.