Hearing about sled-dog races may bring to mind a sprawling white wilderness with grueling conditions, images of a unique cultural tradition widely known but experienced firsthand by few, and heart-wrenching stories of brave four-legged heroes that made the legendary run to the diphtheria outbreak in Nome. Regardless, Alaska’s most famous sporting event is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; if you’re anywhere near the area come Feb, don’t miss the opportunity to witness this awe-inspiring display of physical and emotional fortitude.
The annual race begins in Anchorage on the first Saturday of March, but it’s a ceremonial start (in which you can participate by riding in a musher’s sled for the first 11 miles; the IditaRider auction helps pay for race expenses for mushers). After that, the 60 teams or so line up again in Willow for a restart.
Photo courtesy of Alaskan Dude via Flickr.