Heritage, Arts & Culture
2 Yukon races that should be first on your itinerary
A trail so nice they race it twice.
When it comes to race tracks, the Yukon clearly has a favourite. Both of the territory’s most famous and challenging races, the Yukon Quest dogsled race and the Yukon Arctic Ultra, take place on the legendary highways of the northern frontier. The trail was blazed by prospectors and traders during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1896, but now it’s the proving ground for athletes (both human and canine) looking for the kind of gold you put in a trophy case.
The Yukon Quest
Most people find managing their corgi at the dog park hard work. Well, the Yukon Quest is basically that times 1,000—but with huskies. It’s an epic dogsled race that takes place over 1,000 miles of snowy Yukon and Alaskan terrain, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Or corgis (they just don’t have the legs for it).
Since Sonny Lindner won the first Yukon Quest in 1983 after 12 days of racing, the event has put some of the world’s best dogsled teams to the test. Want to witness Yukon history in the making? Lucky for you, following the race is a lot easier than competing in it. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or looking to add some action to your itinerary, guided round trips from Whitehorse to Dawson City make it possible for anyone to experience the Yukon Quest. Even corgis.
Following the same trail as the Yukon Quest, the Yukon Arctic Ultra is the world’s coldest race of its kind and the ultimate test of endurance, will and, frankly, sanity. The track is marked, but if there’s fresh snow or wind, things can get chillingly challenging pretty quick.
Before the race begins, participants select one of three distances: Whitehorse to Braeburn (100 miles), Whitehorse to Pelly Farm (300 miles), or Whitehorse to Superman’s Icy Fortress of Solitude (430 miles). Okay, fine. It’s actually to Dawson City, but you basically have to be a superhero to do that distance.
Participants also get to choose how they’ll traverse the snow-covered highways of the north: walk, cross-country ski or fat bike. Despite the cold, this is an event that attracts athletes and spectators from around the world. So pack your parka, and come watch some of the world’s most daring probably-superheroes take on the coldest ultra on planet Earth.