For One Day, You Can Be a Musher in the Legendary Iditarod Sled Dog Race
On March 4, over 1,500 of the world’s toughest winter athletes will stand on the starting line of the 44th annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race, wagging their tails and barking with anticipation. They are Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes — 21 dogs per team, 76 teams in total, each helmed by one musher who, like the dogs, feels right at home on the frozen Alaskan frontier. The 1,000+ mile race, which carves through some of the harshest and most remote territory on the planet, is not for the faint of heart. But for a small price, you can sample one day of the Iditarod experience, for 11 glorious miles.
Bidding is now open for the IditaRider Auction, which offers one front-row spot on any of the 76 sleds competing this year. The 11-mile leg begins at the starting line in downtown Anchorage, weaves around the city’s trail system, and ends at a nearby airstrip. Bids start at $750 and are determined by the musher’s experience level — some are novices, some are veterans. (A spot on four-time reigning champ Dallas Seavey’s sled starts at $1,000.) Bidding closes on January 20, but plenty of spots are still open. Experience the race while you can — with increasingly warm and snow-deprived winters, it might not exist much longer. Last year, seven train cars loaded with snow had to be dumped in Anchorage just to get the race on its feet.