Saturday, February 23rd, 2013
Yukon Quest Vs. Iditarod

I often hear talk of how tough the Yukon Quest is and that the Iditarod is just a sprint race to Nome. Having seen most of both races and trails, I would argue that there are more similarities than differences of running a 1,000-mile race from Whitehorse to Fairbanks or from Anchorage to Nome.  Each race is equally challenging, but for different reasons.  The Yukon Quest starts in early February, the Iditarod in early March, so the temperatures in the Quest are often colder than in the Iditarod. The Iditarod has more checkpoints (25 with start and finish) than the Quest (10 with start and finish), where mushers must travel at one point for 200 miles without a checkpoint in between, thereby being forced to carry heavier loads than in the Iditarod.  Iditarod mushers can use more than one sled, whereas Yukon Quest mushers must start and finish with the same sled. The Yukon Quest also has more hills like Rosebud Summit, Eagle Summit, American Summit or King Solomon’s Dome, but the Iditarod has the coast. Running a team up the coast in windy weather can be very grueling, like in this shot of Cym Smyth leaving Elim and heading …

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