Alaska Public Media's Tegan Hanlon talks with four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey in February in the dog lot at his Talkeetna-based kennel. Seavey is back in the Iditarod this year after taking three years off following a scandal in 2017's race, after which the Iditarod said two of Seavey's dogs had tested positive for a banned pain-reliever, then later cleared him of any wrongdoing.
We rejoin the Iditarod something like 48 hours in, and, on what sounds like a hard and fast trail, mushers are pacing themselves for the shorter 850-mile race. There've been a total of three scratches so far, none bigger than Aliy Zirkle, who suffered a concussion and upper body injury in the Dalzell Gorge and had to be flown out of Rohn by helicopter. Also, we catch up with our pal Zachariah Hughes in McGrath.
The 2021 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is going to look a lot different, one year into a global COVID-19 pandemic. (The Iditapod’s going to be pretty different this year, too, as we'll explain). The ceremonial start is canceled, so the race begins Sunday in Willow under strict COVID-19 protocols, with a shortened trail that doubles back on itself, a challenge to sled dog teams to cross the Alaska Range not once, but twice, plus coronavirus testing along the way and less access to indoor spaces at checkpoints... This Iditarod is certainly going to be unique.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has another new Norwegian champion: 46-year-old Thomas Waerner. His team arrived in Nome at 12:37 a.m. Wednesday to an enthusiastic, if smaller, crowd. And Waerner still has to figure out how to get home, what with travel restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic. Iditapod host Casey Grove talks with Alaska Public Media's Tegan Hanlon and Zachariah Hughes about what might have been the weirdest Iditarod ever, in terms of what was unfolding outside the race while it was happening. We also have a question about what the dogs dream about, and a dog profile about a pup conceived on the Iditarod Trail.
This is a quick report from our morning radio coverage of the Iditarod. It's called a radio module, and it details Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner winning the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race at 12:37 a.m. Wednesday, March 18. Waerner's team logged a time of 9 days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds.
It’s Tuesday, and we have a two-fer on dog profiles here on the Iditapod. And as we anticipate Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner winning the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome early Wednesday -- barring any unforeseen changes -- we have a story about the modified Shaktoolik checkpoint, a remembrance of an all-star volunteer checkpoint leader in Unalakleet and a little about how a major, longtime sponsor of the Iditarod has announced it’s pulling out. (Maybe not all in that order).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.