Brent Saas, in his seventh Iditarod, won the 2022 race. He crossed under the famed burled arch in Nome early Tuesday morning. Local temps were hovering around zero. It was the first Iditarod win for Sass. Five time winner, Dallas Seavey came in second. A win would have given Seavey a record sixth title, but Sass, who ran a phenomenal race, held on for the victory.
Brent Sass first ran the Iditarod in 2012, winning rookie of the year when he came in 13th. Sass has won the Yukon Quest three times.
It’s still winter in Alaska: it was -10F on Sunday morning, and expected to drop to -20F Monday night, but the switch has been flipped. The sled dogs are running, the ice carvings are on display, and the aurora shows itself almost nightly.
March in Alaska.
Already, we have over 13 hours of visible light during the day, and our days are gaining length by almost 7 minutes with each spin of the Earth.
The 50th running of the Last Great Race gets its ceremonial start this Saturday in downtown Anchorage. Mushers will then officially get the race going on Sunday from the town of Willow. The Iditarod Sled Dog Race runs annually in March and commemorates the Serum Run of 1925.
The race is mostly back to normal in 2022, with the trail following the northern route, which happens in even numbered years. All mushers must be vaccinated and will be tested during the race. All officials and volunteers must take daily tests until the race ends.
One musher, Nicolas Petit, recently tested positive for Covid-19, and had to scratch from the race. Four-time Iditarod champ, Jeff King, will run his dogs in his place. The 66 year old King last won in 2006.
49 mushers will race across the 49th State, including 13 rookies.
Basketball is THE sport in remote Alaska. Many teams have not traveled to games since early 2020. Dillingham, with The Sockeye Classic, was one of the first communities to host teams for a tournament at the end of January 2022.
Weather threatened to keep the teams from Togiak from traveling to Dillingham. High winds kept any planes on the ground, and there are no roads connecting the network of communities around Bristol Bay. The student athletes, parents and teachers agreed to get together some snowmachines, and travel the 80 miles across the tundra to the tournament.
The trip took six hours instead of the expected four, and one sled broke down along the route, but the trekkers made it to Dillingham and were able to finally play against someone other than themselves in over two years.
On Sunday morning, it was -22F at the cabin, and just a few days before, it was at -31 when I went to work. The temperature has been rising throughout the day, and it looks to be a warm week for us, with temps forecast at above freezing.
As often happens, when temps rise in Alaska during the winter months, temps can cool a bit down in the Lower 48. Although, that’s not to say they will be seeing too many -31F’s.
In the winter of 1974, the Concorde went through cold weather testing in Fairbanks.
Since WWII, Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Cessna, Eurocopter, General Electric, Gulfstream, Honeywell, Sikorsky and many other aircraft companies have tested in Fairbanks. With an 11.800 foot runway, which can handle any aircraft, an airport that rarely features a delay, and plenty of wide open air space, Fairbanks is ideal when the temp drops to -40.
Unlike the Iditarod, the Yukon Quest will be anything but normal for 2022. Unlike the All-Alaska Iditarod Sled Dog Race, the Yukon Quest is an international race running between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, YT. This year, there will be no border crossing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The usual 1000 mile race will be separated into four smaller races for 2022. On Saturday, February 5, the YQ350 will start with teams running from Circle to Fairbanks and back to Circle. Also getting its start on Saturday is the YQ200, which is a one-way run from Fairbanks to Circle.
February 19 will see two races start in Whitehorse. The YQ100, which runs from Whitehorse to Braeburn; and the YQ300, which is a roundtrip between Whitehorse and Mandanna Lake.
Bering Sea ice is at its highest level this late in the season since 2013. Which is good news for Alaska in 2022. Not only does the extended sea ice help out our wildlife, but it offers protection for communities like Nome from fierce winter storms.