A small but competitive field is taking shape for the 2023 Yukon Quest Alaska sled dog race.
Defending champion Brent Sass headlines a list of 13 mushers who have signed up so far for the 550-mile main event from Fairbanks to Tok. The roster also includes 2017 champion Matt Hall, and fellow Quest veterans Michelle Phillips, Cody Strathe and Deke Naaktgeboren. Top Iditarod racer Wade Marrs is also registered to run the 550.
Yukon Quest Alaska executive director Cathy Dimon said any additional mushers are likely to sign up by Dec. 15.
“(That’s) the deadline to sign up for the 550 and be at the $1,000 entry fee, and then it goes to $1,500 after that,” she said.
Dimon said the 550 trail will run over the traditional Quest route from Fairbanks to Two Rivers, Mile 101, Central, Circle and Eagle.
“And then from Eagle they’re gong to drop down from American Summit just like they usually do,” she said. “But instead of turning and going across the border to Dawson, they’re gonna go down to Chicken and then they will be out to Tok for the finish.”
Dimon said mushers will be required to rest at least four hours at either Mile 101 or Central, four hours at Eagle and six hours at Chicken.
The Quest 550 and two shorter races, a 300-mile race and an 80-mile fun run, are all scheduled to start Saturday, Feb. 4, in Fairbanks.