We know it’s far away and maybe hard to imagine the massive amounts of snow on the ground given our measly New York City winter, but it’s mushing time in Alaska. The Iditarod has begun! We’ve always been impressed with the sled dog’s stamina which is surely needed in this 1,049 mile-long race.
Mushers, or people driving the sled, use 12-16 dogs to pull them from Anchorage, Alaska to Nome. They trek through seriously harsh landscapes, possible blizzards and crazy temperatures for days on end. The fastest this race has ever been won is in 8 days, 19 hours and 46 minutes but it can take much longer than that.
We love this race because, well, it can’t be done without the dogs! Each musher utilizes his or her own race strategy, though one rule is that each dog must wear booties to protect their paws against hard-packed snow. Some mushers run at night, some during the day, and they have their own tactics for feeding the dogs to keep them going from checkpoint to checkpoint.
The dogs, which are mostly mixed-breed Huskies bred for the sport, go through serious training beforehand preparing for the race starting in late summer to early fall by running thousands of miles. Interestingly, the dogs burn about 5,000 calories each day when racing. Talk about athletes!
Here are some awesome pictures of the amazing dogs running, but also resting, looking cute as ever.
Gorgeous dogs, right?