And they're in. German musher Hendrik Stachnau brought his team of Greenland dogs and Alaska malamutes across the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race finish line on the Chena River at about 11 p.m. Thursday.
Stachnau was the 27th and final musher to finish the 1,000-mile race from Whitehorse, Yukon. The 2019 version featured some curveballs such as low snow and bitter cold on the Yukon side, a stretch of impassible trail that forced mushers to truck their dogs, a possible wolf encounter and blizzards on the exposed peaks on the Alaska side.
Only three of the original 30 mushers scratched, a much lower percentage of the field than usual. Twelve mushers finished the race Thursday at Nordale Bridge, 14 miles short of the usual finish line in Fairbanks, because of overflow and windblown snow on the Chena River.
Eureka musher Brent Sass won the race Monday, his second championship. The field also included Rookie of the Year Martin Apayauq Reitan, 21, and 78-year-old rookie Jim Lanier, who is an Iditarod veteran.
Because of the blizzards pinning mushers down in checkpoints at Central and Mile 101, most of the back of the pack formed two groups who worked together to cross the 3,652-foot Eagle Summit and 3,640-foot Rosebud Summit in high winds and deep snow.
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