“These are elite canine athletes and professional mushers – I’m sure they can handle it,” she says. “Besides, what we see in Whitehorse is not necessarily indicative of trail conditions for the 999 remaining miles.”

Support from the community and local business has been incredible, says Haltrich. Thanks to this support, the Yukon Quest was able to raise the purse by $5,000 for this year’s race. This year’s prize is US$120,000, to be divided by percentages among the top 15 competitors.

The first musher is expected to cross the finish line on Feb. 13. While it is impossible to say when the last musher will cross the finish line, Haltrich says that the final, or “Red Lantern” musher to finish came in five days behind the first place winner in the 2016 race.

Race progress can be tracked in real time online via GPS.

All events associated with the Yukon Quest are free to the public, with the exception of the Awards Banquets. Tickets for the banquets are already sold out. A complete list of events is available at www.YukonQuest.com.