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The 2015 race starts Sunday, March 1 2015@ 14:00 Knik Lake

we open entries for race veterans April 1

new racers April 8


Race Philosophy

"It was in Rohn as our trail breaker in 2007 I had the good fortune to meet Joe May one of the legends and winner of the early Iditarod Sled Dog Races. The history lesson for all of us at the Rohn cabin that night cannot be bought or read in books. The stories of dog races in the early days told with a lot of humor fascinated us and kept us laughing. The more I listened the better I felt about the philosophy of the Iditarod Trail Invitational. When Alaska Ultra Sport was formed with the input of several veteran racers we all agreed support should be kept to a minimum. Winning or even finishing in the extremes of Alaskan winter weather depends on how comfortable the racers are with their abilities, level of experience and amount of risk they are willing to take. We differ from other races in that we allow racers to make these decisions for themselves about what to carry, when to rest and when it is safe to travel. There is no designated or marked route only mandatory checkpoints racers must pass through. As a race organizer it would be much less stressful to have all the rules, restrictions and support offered in other races but as a racer I want to make and be responsible for my own decisions. We try to limit the amount of support to just what is necessary to prevent our race from imposing on lodges and other folks along the trail when things don’t go as planned. Words from a story told by Joe May say it best and I am paraphrasing, “Some times when you offer too much support you cheat the true adventurer out of a big part of why they are on the trail. They come to race, to confront and hopefully overcome what ever is thrown their way. To solve problems for them diminishes the experience.”
            Listening to those stories from someone who experienced the early days of the Iditarod Trail made me sure I want to preserve this philosophy of adventure and experience for all who qualify and choose to participate in the Iditarod Trail Invitational. This race is not for everyone. A mistake at the wrong time and place in the Alaskan winter wilderness could cost you fingers and toes or even your life.
At times the only possible rescue will be self rescue. For those who do not agree with this philosophy, expect marked trails and more support there are other races out there which will cater to your needs. "

Bill Merchant
Trail Manager/ Racer


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Race Rules

  • Leave no trace. Do not litter the trail !!
  • GPS tracking devices such as SPOT are not allowed in the race.
    Sat Phones and/or EPRBs are allowed.

  • GPS units for navigation are allowed.
  • All survival gear
    (clothing, sleeping bags, etc.) for the McGrath race must be carried from the start.
  • You may take any route as long as you sign-in and sign-out of the required checkpoints.
  • No support crews!
  • Media crews following an individual racer must be with an Alaska Ultra Sport guide!
  • No outside assistance to advance up or down the trail.
    (no snowmachine or airplane rides)
  • Respect private property!
  • Expendables only in drop bags!
    (drop bags will not be returned!)
  • Do not bring bikes, sleds or skis inside checkpoints!
  • Cyclists must start and finish with the same bike.
  • Smiles, Thank-you's and Tips are appreciated at all check point

Time limits:

4 days from start to Fingerlake CP

5 days from start to Puntilla CP

6 days from start to Rohn CP

10 days from start to McGrath (350 mile)

30 days from start to Nome (1100 mile)

Missing Cut-off times at Fingerlake, Puntilla or Rohn does not mean disqualification but the racer will be responsible for their own food and lodging.



• Drop bags should be contractor garbage bags or tough stuff sacks. (The squirrels in Rohn enjoy sports drink powder and snacks)

• Drop bags will not be returned!

• Drop bags must be clearly labeled with racers name and drop location, filled with your supplies and secured shut.

• You may ship the closed bags to us in boxes.
(we will take them out of the box for packing them into a ski plane).

• You can share drop bags with another racer to limit waste.

• You may have two 10 lbs (4.5 kg) drop bags. One at Finger Lake and one at Rohn. For the Nome racers there is one 10 lbs drop bag for Cripple in even years and in the ghost town of Iditarod in odd years.

Drop bags are due in Anchorage at Alaska European B&B at 3107 Cottonwood St. by February 19, 2011 to insure delivery to the checkpoints via ski plane.

A finish in one of these winter ultra races are qualifiers for the Iditarod Trail Invitational.

Susitna 100
100 mile ultra race by bike, foot, ski and 50 K race in Alaska.

Arrowhead 135
135 mile ultra race by bike, foot and ski on the Arrowhead Trail in Northern Minnesota.

White Mountains 100
100 mile bike, foot, ski ultra race in the White Mountains near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Sheep Mountain 150
New in 2010. 150 mile and 100 mile bike-only race at Sheep Mountain Lodge, Alaska.

We limit the amount of racers to 50 entries.
After a personal conversation by phone or email we accept a few new entries to this event every year.
If you have no previous winter ultra experience contact us about our winter training camps on the Iditarod Trail.
Looking forward to hear from you.

Bill & Kathi Merchant
racers and race organizers



© Alaska Ultra Sport LLC 2013. All rights reserved.