Tuesday, February 15, 2005

ultra frostbite lopit quest

February in the Yukon is a time of events. Timely events. It is no coincidence that these events are arranged for mid-February, the time when socialization and entertainment are critical to mental survival of a northern winter.

Saturday was the Marsh Lake Lopit. A 'silly' cross country ski race where you do a shot of tequila at a pit stop half way through.

All weekend was the Frostbite Festival which brings musical acts from around the world to four different stages right here in the Yukon. We attended Saturday night and danced and danced and danced. I danced to music I've shunned and swore I would NEVER dance to. It's amazing the things you do after being in a cabin for awhile.

Sunday afternoon was the start of the Yukon Quest, a 1,000 mile dog sled race from Whitehorse to Fairbanks. It's quite an event and everyone is out sporting good northern fashion that would get you shot if you wore it on the streets of Vancouver. 21 teams of 12 to 14 dogs spend 11 days and nights out on the trail.

The mushers are celebraties up here, there are even musher trading cards. Every musher when asked what their goal for the race is says, "to finish the race with a full healthy team of dogs." I'm not sure how I feel about people harnessing dogs and running them to death, but you can tell the mushers do love their dogs. Some mushers won't even leave the starting gate until they've spoken to each dog individually, ignoring the final countdown.

The Yukon Arctic Ultra is more my bag. A 500 mile man powered race. Participants run, ski or bike. Of course there wasn't the same turn out for the start of the Ultra as there was for the Quest and some participants were still running down the street to the starting gate after it had begun. Participants were good humoured and a little bit insane. Some had come directly from the local equipment store to the starting line having just bought their gear.

Apparently there are a few more weeks of events coming up, including something called Rendevous. People have tried to describe this one too me and I think I'm just going to have to see it for myself. Something about hauling flour and going to jail...


Blogger dogsled_stacie said...

Just wanted to let you know... sled dogs aren't "run to death" - as you noticed they were eager to go and have a true desire to run. You are right that mushers do love the dogs and they're on that journey together.

Check out my blog if you want to know more about the life of a sled dog in the Yukon!

10:19 p.m.  
Blogger George Forgan-Smith said...

LOL, but isn't life always like that. BTW I have been trying to find a good alaskan malamute breeder do you have any ideas? Nancy

7:47 p.m.  
Blogger George Forgan-Smith said...

LOL, but isn't life always like that. BTW I have been trying to find a good alaskan malamute dog do you have any ideas? Nancy

11:22 p.m.  
Anonymous Darksky Kennels said...

True, but sometimes life can be like that... BTW have you seen my great new puppy from Darksky Malamutes?


4:58 p.m.  

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