Alaska Activities: The Iditarod Dog Sled Race

A lot of people think that Alaska is desolate in the winter months, but the reality is that there are plenty of fun things to do and enjoy in the state throughout the year. One of the most popular winter events to take place in Alaska is the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. For decades, this annual event has attracted participants and spectators from around the world to Alaska. If you’re thinking about taking a trip and are looking for things to do in Alaska in February and March, read on to find out a little bit more about this race and how you can experience the tradition for yourself.

What is the Iditarod Dog Sled Race?

The Iditarod Dog Sled Race has been a tradition in Alaska since 1973. Since then, dozens of mushers and dog sled teams have participated in the race each year, racing hundreds of miles from the celebratory start in Anchorage in the southern part of the state to Nome in northwest Alaska. The main route of the Iditarod Trail is 930 miles in length, but the Iditarod Dog Sled Race follows only certain portions of the original trail.

Teams who race in the Iditarod are considered local celebrities in Alaska, and winners are rewarded with press, awards and cash prizes. Many participants have enjoyed multiple wins, and there is a lot of steep competition between participants who are vying for that first-place spot. The race is long and grueling, with most participants finishing in between eight and 20 days

Each dog sled team has 12 to 16 dogs, who are all specially trained to compete in endurance races like the Iditarod.​ ​The dogs that carry the sleds across the Iditarod Trail are bred for speed, endurance and agility. Originally, most sled dogs were Alaskan malamutes, but Siberian huskies soon became the most popular dog breed for races like the Iditarod beginning in the early 20​th century. Today, the dogs used to race are a special breed known as an Alaskan Husky. Many Iditarod spectators have the opportunity to interact with Siberian huskies who have participated in the race in events that take place during the Iditarod Dog Sled Race.

Even people who aren’t in Alaska during the Iditarod still like to keep up with the action through live social media updates, race photos and checkpoint feeds. All of these things allow people around the world to observe the race as it happens and follow their favorite teams from start to finish.

Get more ideas for things to do in Alaska in February and March

Whether you want to come to Alaska to experience the excitement of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race yourself or you just want to take in some scenic views, you can contact Alaska Wild Guides for reliable travel advice. For years, our team has been proud to provide clients with unforgettable tours in Alaska. February and March are ideal months for riding a snowmobile to the glacier or into Turnagain Pass. If you’re looking for more things to do in Alaska in February and March, simply give us a call to find out more about what we have to offer and remember it’s never too early to start planning for your summer vacation!

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