Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Iditarod: The Last Great Race on Earth

What an amazing finish this morning; Dallas Seavey & Aliy Zirkle were neck & neck till the end. They finished within 2 minutes of each other. Dallas Seavey won the race, but Aliy did amazing as well! 

You can read more about their photo finish on the Alaska Dispatch. {Click Here}

One of my favorite websites for all of the best Iditarod news during the race is The Iditarod Insider. This site has a constant feed of blog posts, race standings, dog reports, volunteer information, education materials and the most amazing GPS tracker that you can watch from the courtesy of your own home.   {Click here for more information about the Iditarod}

You can also follow the Iditarod Trail Commitee on Facebook {Click Here to follow on Facebook}

2013 Iditarod

Last year, I had the extraordinary opportunity to volunteer at the Iditarod Communications headquarters. This was courtesy of an "in" with my cousin from Anchorage. She has volunteered at the Iditarod for years! This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I had always wanted to come to Alaska for the Iditarod & finally had my chance!

My duties at Comms Headquarters included taking phone calls from checkpoint Comms volunteers, emails regarding stats, weather, dog counts, answer questions for walk in volunteers, and the best part was just taking it all in.

I am not sure if the general population realizes, but everyone that works at the Iditarod to help make it the success that it is, are ALL volunteer workers. Volunteers travel from all over the world. It is so amazing to actually see how it all comes together. 

For example, the checkpoint at Finger Lake is missing part of the Communications materials it needs to communicate for the race. Therefore, I need to find supplies if we have them, take them to the flight office and see when a volunteer pilot is heading that way to take supplies. All supplies are flown into checkpoints with small planes. Everything from water, food, medical supplies, veterinary items for the on staff Vets, communication devices and the list goes on.

My first day in Anchorage, we went to the "real" start in Willow. They have a "fake" start down the streets of Anchorage the day before. It was a gorgeous day & it was fun to watch all the mushers take off down the trail. 

Here are some of the pictures I took at the starting line in Willow.
My cousin & I 

All of the racers lined up at the Start line. Each musher has their own time slot of when they get to start. They have a team of people helping with the dogs. The dogs are soooo excited to get going.

After a day of fun & watching the start, it was time to head back to Anchorage to get to work! The Iditarod start is like the State Fair here in Wisconsin. There were cars & people as far as you could see. 

Everyone in Comms was so friendly & knowledgeable. Most of them had been volunteering for YEARS. I met people from all over the country. There were people stopping in the office nonstop, whether they were checkers heading out, pilots, past volunteers, or Comms volunteers. I enjoyed meeting each & every one of them. Each person had their own story to tell about the trail or past years races. 

I worked 4 days during the beginning of the race, each shift was 6 hours long. Some shifts were early in the morning, some were late into the evening. Each shift had their own benefits & excitement. 

One afternoon while working, I was able to go outside and pet some of the dogs that had been flown back to the Millenium hotel. They were so friendly. 

On my off time, I made time to explore the sights near Anchorage; as I had never been to Alaska in the winter before. The gorgeous snow covered mountains were such a sight to see. 

I made the trek up to Flat Top with my cousin & her children on a bright sunny morning. Gorgeous views of the entire city and the mountains.

The day before I left, I also had the chance to ride the gondola up to the top of the mountain at the Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. I had never been to a mountain ski resort. All I have to say is, WOW!

 For information on the Alyeska Ski Resort {Click Here}

I hope you enjoyed learning a little about my Iditarod trip experience last year & will continue to follow the race next year!

Do you follow the Iditarod race? I would love to hear comments from people that follow the race or have been to Alaska for the Iditarod in the past.

Choose Happy


  1. What a unique and amazing experience! I don't know much about the race itself, other than it is grueling. But the photos you posted were gorgeous. I used to have family in Alaska, but never got there myself. Stopping by from the SITS FB thread to say hello!


    1. Thanks for stopping by Alison! It was an amazing experience. We have been up to Alaska twice during the summer and I can't wait to go back. It is incredible!


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