Alaska’s four-legged athletes love to run and accessing Alaska’s state sport—dog mushing—has never been easier. Go on a tour of working kennels where you can meet the dogs and hear captivating tales from veteran mushers. Try a 30-minute ride in the basket or learn to drive your own team at a half-day mushing school. You can even fly to a remote lodge and “mush” your team on a guided tour.
Spectators come out to the Jeff Studdert Race Grounds to see events in the “sprint” category. Catch the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race in February—an epic 1,000-mile marathon between Fairbanks, Alaska, and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada, with odd years beginning in Whitehorse and even years starting in Fairbanks. In March, catch the excitement of the “grand¬daddy of all sprint races,” the Open North American Championship Sled Dog Race. All awesome activities sure to keep you howling with the dogs.
In 1983, at the Bull's Eye Saloon in Fairbanks, four mushers discussed a hypothetical new sled dog race that eventually became the tougher-than-nails Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Named to commemorate the mighty Yukon River, the race also follows the historical gold rush route that started in the Klondike. The first 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race in 1984 saw 26 teams leave Fairbanks and over 16 days later 20 teams had arrived in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. Sonny Lindner was the first Yukon Quest champion, completing the race in just over 12 days. Currently, the race lasts nine to 14 days depending on weather, trail conditions and the strength of the dog teams.