Despite warmer conditions causing a starting location change, the 2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will officially start today in Fairbanks, Alaska for only the second time in the race’s 42 year history.
“The Last Great Race on Earth” moved the traditional starting location from Willow to Fairbanks due to warmer temperatures causing minimal snow cover on rugged parts of the trail, making it particularly unsafe for the dogs and mushers.
No other contest in history tests the mettle of man and mutt like the famed Iditarod. The annual competition will pit 79 teams of the most brazened thrill seekers on a 968-mile trek from Fairbanks to Nome—a sled ride that toes a fine, frozen line between death and greatness. Why? Glory.
When asked if the warmer conditions and move to Fairbanks would be a challenge, 2014 Iditarod Champion Dallas Seavey stated, “It really doesn’t matter much. Mushers tend to obsess over the conditions, ‘It’s going to be too warm, or too cold, or it may blow.’ All those things happen in almost every race. In my mind, it’s all about the opportunity and adapting to the change. Fact is, you run every race with all those possibilities because they almost always happen.”
The men and women who volunteer to endure white-out blizzards, unforgiving terrain, gale fore winds and wind chills as low as -100 degrees Fahrenheit for the distance of 40 marathons, over an average of two weeks, are as special a breed as the 16 dogs pulling their sleds. The teamwork, stamina and grit required of these partners and their bond makes the Iditarod one of the most exciting spectacles on earth to watch. This year, you’ll be able to tag along from the warmth of your living room.
The Official Network of the Iditarod, The Sportsman Channel, will provide viewers with exclusive in-depth program coverage of the indefatigable men and w0men, their dogs and the punishing but spectacular Alaskan frontier. Join in on the action and help celebrate this renowned American tradition of our men and women (and dogs) of the outdoors.
<h2>Huskies</h2>The original sled dogs of the Iditarod were malamutes, but beginning in the early 20th century, Siberian huskies became the most popular breed. <br><br> All photos by Mike Kenney