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About This QuizVolunteers who set out to mark the Iditarod course before the race begins are known as trailbreakers. Marking the trail on snow machines helps prevent mushers and their teams from veering off course. Other volunteers include the group of pilots affectionately known as the Iditarod Air Force, who transport food for the sled dogs to each checkpoint.
The Iditarod begins in what Alaskan town on the first Saturday in March?
The Iditarod sets off every year on the first Saturday in March from Anchorage, Alaska. This is the ceremonial beginning of the famous race; the real beginning is further north the following day. The Iditarod lasts anywhere from nine to 19 days, and the finish line is located in Nome, Alaska.
The length of the Iditarod course is roughly:
Mushers and their teams of sled dogs cover about 1,131 miles on the Iditarod trail, earning it the nickname of "the Last Great Race on Earth." Iditarod competitors must face other racing teams as well as harsh weather conditions.
During the Iditarod, the temperature has been known to drop as low as:
10 degrees Fahrenheit below zero
40 degrees Fahrenheit below zero
60 degrees Fahrenheit below zero
Temperatures during the Iditarod have plummeted to 60 degrees Fahrenheit below zero and risen to 50 degrees Fahrenheit above zero. Mushers and their dogs must also brave chilling winds and heavy snow as they navigate the trail.
The Iditarod is run on two different courses, a northern route and a southern route. How is the route chosen each year?
The winner from the previous year picks his or her preferred route.
The northern route is used in even years, while the southern route is used in odd years.
The routes for the Iditarod alternate each year. The northern route is used in even years, while the southern route is used in odd years. Both routes have difficult terrain ranging from frozen rivers to uninhabited wilderness, and each route has a series of checkpoints, located in towns and villages. The northern route has 26 checkpoints, and the southern route has 27 checkpoints.
Twenty-six towns in Alaska vote on which route they prefer, and the route with the most votes is used.
The first Iditarod was held in what year?
The tradition of dog sleds transporting people through Alaska's icy climate has been around for many years, but the first official Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was held in 1973, the brainchild of two Alaskans who wished to honor the tradition.
The Iditarod trail is the same route that was used:
by native fisherman many centuries ago, when they traveled from their villages to the sea
by those involved in the gold rush in the early 1900s to reach Alaskan mining towns
The Iditarod is named after a mining town in Alaska, and the trail used in the race was used during the gold rush of the early 1900s to reach mining towns such as Iditarod. The trail was also used to transport a diphtheria serum across Alaska in 1925 after an outbreak of the disease.
by American explorers venturing to Alaska after the U.S. purchased the land from Russia
What is the entry fee for each musher in the Iditarod?
It costs each Iditarod contestant $3,000 to enter the race. Mushers must also be 18 years of age and complete two races accumulating 500 miles where they finish in the top 75 percent of the field and have a time that is no more than twice the time of the winner of the race.
There is no entry fee; qualification is based on performance in preliminary sled dog races.
Wheel dogs are:
right in front of a musher's sled and generally the largest and strongest dogs on the team
Wheel dogs, also known as wheelers, are the largest and strongest dogs on the team and are positioned right in front of the sled. Other kinds of dogs on a team include lead dogs, the frontrunners generally considered the fastest and most intelligent dogs, and the swing dogs, who help the musher navigate turns and curves. Any dog who isn't in one of these three positions is called a team dog.
the most intelligent and fastest dogs who run in front of the pack
usually in the middle of a team, helping to direct them around turns and curves
How many calories a day do sled dogs need to consume when training or racing?
Sled dogs may cover as much as 3,000 miles in their preparation for the Iditarod. Because of this rigorous schedule, each dog needs about 10,000 calories each day. This means that during the race, a team of sled dogs may eat 2,000 pounds of food.
animal rights activists who attempt to destroy the course before the race in protest
the fastest mushers from checkpoint to checkpoint, who receive special prizes for their feats
volunteers who navigate the Iditarod trail before the race on snow machines to place makers
Volunteers who set out to mark the Iditarod course before the race begins are known as trailbreakers. Marking the trail on snow machines helps prevent mushers and their teams from veering off course. Other volunteers include the group of pilots affectionately known as the Iditarod Air Force, who transport food for the sled dogs to each checkpoint.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images