For the sixth year in a row, a group of residents from the Denali Center have crafted a few dozen hand-decorated blankets, which are being donated to competitors in the 2020 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. This year, Denali Center residents created 25 blankets.

“The first time we did this was 2014. We’ve been involved with volunteering for the Quest since then. We’ve done something every year,” said Ruth Pomeroy, activities manager at Denali Center.

The process starts with the collection of upcycled towels that have been discarded by Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. The towels are sewed together into large bags and then decorated by residents of the center. The finished products are then distributed to each of the mushers.

“The primary mission of it is to have an extra blanket or an extra resource for the dogs that have been dropped along the route,” Pomeroy said.

Hanging on the wall of the Denali Center is an example of this: a photograph of a dog somewhere along the route, wrapped in a blanket that was donated in a previous year. Pomeroy said that the blankets have become tokens for some Yukon Quest racers.

“They’ve become treasures for dog mushers,” she said, noting that some former competitors have the blankets hanging on their walls. “They’re things that have been kind of filled with love and have been passed on. So that’s kind of cool.”

This year's Yukon Quest begins in Fairbanks on Feb. 1.

Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.