Alaska and Yukon offices split at crossroads

Mandatory rest a focus of discussion among proposals
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 8:00 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Yukon Quest is the 1,000 mile international dog sled race running from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. The international connection has been in place since the race’s inception in 1984.

With two different countries having stake in the race, there are respective board members for each country and their office, but an announcement that these two will split from one another to produce an international race.

One of the main topics in the Yukon and Alaska disagreement was a proposed increase in mandatory rest time from just over two days time to five, but that wasn’t the only topic of discussion that created a crossroads between the two offices. The Yukon office had also wanted to create smaller event races in addition to the main race.

“It’s very sad it has to come down to this,” said Kirsten Thureson, the Yukon Quest Alaska Executive Director. “The board of directors on both sides of the Yukon Quest did not come to an agreement when it came to changes of the rules (for 2023 race).

According to Alaska quest vice president, Mark Weber, the president and vice president of each country’s board of directors met, to try and hash out an agreement to continue the quest. The Yukon office proposed to provide the trail, but would not offer monetary support, putting more of the financial responsibility on Alaska. The Alaskan representatives turned down the proposal.

Alaska proposed a different plan, which included a 1,000 mile race for 2023, which also was rejected by Yukon. These discrepancies led to the Alaskan office feeling like the proposed plan altered and strayed away from the original core values that the “founding fathers” had set for the race.

There are still many details that have yet to be figured out, but Alaska is planning on having a 1,000 mile race in 2023. Weber said more details can be expected in the near future.

“I encourage fans, volunteers, and everyone that’s been involved with the Yukon Quest to really take a step back,” said Thureson. “Wait to see what progresses with this story in the future. There will be more information that will continually be coming out.”

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