The Trekkers are coming again, and this year’s Trek Over the Top from Tok Alaska to Dawson City, will have a substantial increase in numbers over the last two years.
Paul Robitaille, marketing and events manager with the Klondike Visitors Association (KVA), reports that the Tok Chamber of Commerce has taken over the promotion and booking from the Alaska Trailblazers Snowmobile Club on the Alaska side of the event and that 215 places have been reserved for the March 9 to 12 Trek.
The last several years have peaked at 147.
“There are no rooms left for them to book that weekend,” Robitaille says, “which is a great problem to have.”
It’s the largest Trek since the KVA took over organizing the Dawson side.
“This is the biggest we’ve been involved in, which is awesome. For the town, Trek has the biggest economic impact of any winter event.”
The Trek Over the Top is the mid-winter 200 mile (322 km) ride on a groomed tail from Tok to Dawson, and then back over the Taylor/Top of the World Highway route. It has been has been going on since 1993, so this makes year 24.
At one time there were three 200 rider weekends, but many of the Trekkers were U.S. military personnel, and border problems, as well as the “War on Terror,” cut into the numbers substantially reducing the event to two treks and eventually to one.
Robitaille credits the lower Canadian dollar and the attention of Tok and Chicken based business owners for the increased promotion and interest. He is also glad to see a new generation of riders signing up. Some of the originals have been doing the run for over 20 years and new blood was needed as the demographic aged.
They’ll be arriving sometime in the afternoon on Thursday, March 9, will enjoy two days of events in the Klondike, and will head back – tired but happy – on Sunday, March 12.
Trek events available for the $599 per person price tag are:
• 6 meals: Breakfast in Tok before departure, two luncheons in Dawson City, two banquet dinners at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall in Dawson City, and dinner in Tok upon return.
• Three nights lodging in Dawson
• Gasoline fill-up 75 miles from Tok in Chicken, each way
• Nightly can can shows and gambling at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s
• Chance to win door prizes
• Entry into the Poker Run and chances to win cash and prizes
• There will be performances by Dawson’s Boardwalk Burlesque group and the Whitehorse based Snowshoe Shufflers, a comedy can can troupe.
One crowd favourite for everyone is the ever popular sled drop, in which a derelict snowmobile (completely drained and scrubbed clean) is hoisted above the frozen (this year, partly frozen) Yukon River by helicopter and dropped onto a target site riddled with marker stakes.
If the sled lands close to one of the stakes you bought, you win half the take from the stake sales.
This event is carried out by Dawson’s Sled Dawgs, who also groomed the highway trail and provided this year’s long version of the ice bridge across the river.
The large numbers do present a challenge: you can’t actually feed 215 people in Gertie’s, so some will have to settle for vouchers to the local restaurants.
Robitaille says the Trek is a great opportunity to appeal to the market in Alaska, and the KVA knows that many of the people who make this winter run come back again for a taste of the summer season.