Frozen Experiences of a Lifetime: Watch the World's Toughest Endurance Athletes (Alaska; Yukon)

The ultimate North American winter bucket list

The noise is like nothing else on earth: Hundreds of huskies barking, screeching, howling, and moaning as they wait impatiently to get harnessed up and released from the start line. The dogs are amped up with enough energy to carry them through 1,000 miles of wilderness, often running about 100 miles a day. The scene at the start of a major dog sledding race has to be heard to be believed.

Long-distance mushing isn’t much of a spectator sport—its most famous races, the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod, each pass through a thousand miles of remote northern wilderness, where the Internet comes in by satellite, if at all, and any camera crews would have to follow along by snowmobile or by ski plane. Good luck convincing network TV to send their people into Alaska’s mountain passes in the heart of winter.

But you can watch the race starts, and see the dogs and their frost-bearded mushers tearing off down the trail. The Yukon Quest takes place in early February, and runs between Whitehorse, Yukon, and Fairbanks, Alaska; its start and end points alternate each year. In 2013—the 30th running of the Quest—the race will begin in Whitehorse on February 2. The next month, on March 2, the Iditarod begins in downtown Anchorage.

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