Do You Have What It Takes ... Dog Sledding

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Mushers lead sled dogs on long-distance races. They have to endure freezing temperatures, avoid hostile predators, cross treacherous environments and navigate through hundreds of miles of open Alaskan wilderness. Do you have what it takes to be a musher and lead a team of sled dogs to victory? Take this quiz to find out.

You're organizing your team before the race. Where do you put your two best sled dogs?

Your two best dogs, known as the "lead dogs," should always be at the head of your team. Like the quarterback on a football field, these dogs are the most important members of your team, so they should be in positions of authority.

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The race just started, but you already see that one of your competitors is having trouble. It looks like one of her dogs got tangled up in a tow line and is being strangled. What do you do?

Winning is important, but mushers generally follow an unwritten code of conduct to help each other out in times of need. Racing across the Alaskan wilderness is dangerous business, so it's important that everyone on the trail looks out for one another.

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Back on the trail, you keep racing until night has fallen. It's very cold, but neither you nor your dogs are tired. Should you continue racing in the dark?

Alaskan sled dog races are often a thousand miles or longer, and each competitor goes at his or her own pace. Some mushers prefer to race in the dark because the temperatures are colder and the snow is harder, making it easier for the dogs to run. If you want to race at night, go for it!

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You see a large horned moose up ahead, and your dogs want to avoid it. What should you do?

In Alaska, there's about one moose per every four people, so it's not unusual to see an ungulate in your path. But you should still avoid them at all costs! Moose are massive, aggressive creatures, and more people are killed by moose in Alaska every year than by polar bears.

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After another day of hard travel, you reach the next checkpoint. What's the No. 1 thing you should before going to sleep?

You're not going to win (or even finish) the race if you don't take care of your dogs. The first order of business at every checkpoint should be making sure all your pooches' paws are OK. That means examining every dog -- even if you're dead tired.

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You stop for a short break after racing for several hours straight. You're starving, so what do you eat?

Stick to high-energy, easily storable foods. Sugary snacks loaded with saturated fats like candy bars and chips will do nothing for you, and fruits and veggies won't hold up in the cold. Moose jerky is popular among mushers, as is akutaq (aka Eskimo ice cream), a traditional Alaskan dish that consists of grated reindeer fat, seal oil, sugar and salmonberries.

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You and your team are racing down a frozen river. Suddenly, your team slows down. What do you do?

You're working with trained sled dogs, not pampered suburban pets -- if they're trying to tell you something, you better listen! Many sled dogs can sense thin ice, open water and precipitous drop-offs, so ignoring their warnings could be a fatal mistake.

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A few miles from the finish line, one of your dogs sprains his foot. How do you proceed?

Put that puppy on your sled -- this is a team member we're talking about! Sled dogs are tough and can generally continue to run after sustaining a minor injury, but if one is slowing down the team, the musher should carry the ailing pooch on the sled and then hand him over at the next checkpoint.

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