The 2017 Iditarod Trail Invitational starts Sunday February 26 at 2:00PM at Knik Lake, Alaska
The mandatory pre race meeting is on Saturday February 25 from 11 am to 1 PM at the Turnigan room at the Westmark Hotel.
$1360.00 entry fee for the 350 mile race will provide:
Meals & Accomodations at Yentna Station (mile 60), Skwentna Roadhouse (mile 90) and Shell Lake Lodge (mile 110) are availble for purchase for racers.
Racers return to Anchorage from McGrath with a one way flight on Pen Air.
Make reservations once you arrive in McGrath with Pen Air 1 -(800) 448-4226 or 1-(907) 771-2640
Bikes fly for free. Currently their March 2017 schedule has flights on MON/TUE/WED/THU/SAT No flights on Sundays or Friday. The current one way rate for March 2017 shows. $169.00 McGrath-Anchorage.
Drop bags for Fingerlake C P3 , Rohn CP 5 and Cripple ( North Route) are due in Anchorage on Saturday February 18, 2017 by noon at SPEEDWAY CYCLES at 1231 W. Northern Lights Blvd.
Alaska Ultra Sport
po box 1125
Chickaloon, AK 99674
Please don't mail drop bags before Feb. 1.
Racers provide those and either drop them off in person a week before the race or send them by mail.
Many european racers and out of state racers mail them by post to us.
Remember to send them by air mail if you send them from Europe to make sure they arrive in time.
(please use bags not boxes)
Drops are for expendables only! ( food, batteries, fuel, chem. handwarmers,etc.)
Everything else (all survival gear) is to be carried from the start by the racer.
• Finger Lake drop bag- maximum5 lbs/2.5 kg
• Rohn drop bag - maximum5 lbs/2.5 kg
• Cripple/Iditarod drop bag -maximum10 lbs/4.5 kg
The first male and female overall winner and first male and female runner in the 350 mile and 1000 mile race will receive a free entry for the following year.
FOR RUNNERS ONLY
Runners that finish the 350 mile ITI race receive 4 points towards qualification for the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc
The Iditarod Trail Invitational is the world's longest human powered winter ultra-marathon. The race begins in Knik, Alaska and follows the Iditarod Trail to McGrath, Alaska for the finish of the three hundred fifty mile "short race". Racers competing in the one thousand mile version will continue up the trail to Nome, Alaska.
The only support provided to the racers is three snow machines in front of the leaders as far as McGrath insuring a broken trail once and seven checkpoints where food and lodging are available. We supply three food drops along the route:
Fingerlake (mile 130) Rohn (mile 210) and in Cripple(even numbered years) or Iditarod ( odd numbered years) for the Nome racers. Between checkpoints racers have each other. Racers continuing to Nome are completely on their own except for one food drop provided by the race between McGrath and Ruby/Shageluk.
They use village stores or send packages to the village post offices to re-supply with food and fuel for their stoves. Schools are often the only place to spend the night inside a building along the route to Nome.
CP 1 Yentna Station- mile 59
After leaving Knik the race route is completely off the road system. The trail leaves Knik and traverses frozen swamps and lakes to the Susitna River. Turning right onto the river we follow the Susitna to it's confluence with the Yentna River. Turning left up the Yentna racers soon reach the first checkpoint fiftyseven miles into the race at Yentna Station. Some racers in the past have made the mistake of turning right up a slough shortly after getting on the Yentna. Stay on the main river until you arrive at Yentnta Station.
CP 2 Skwentna Roadhouse- mile 90
The trail continues up the Yentna River past the confluence with the Skwentna River before turning left off the river and arriving at the second checkpoint, Skwentna Roadhouse approximately ninety miles from the start.
CP 3 Fingerlake- Winterlake Lodge- mile 130
The trail leaves Skwentna and heads into the foot hills of the Alaska Range. At about one hundred thirty miles racers reach the third checkpoint Winterlake Lodge on Finger Lake. Here they can re-supply from their drop bags flown in by the race organization with a small plane on skis.
CP 4 Rainy Pass Lodge- mile 165
Beyond Finger Lake the true wilderness begins as racers continue climbing higher into the Alaska Range over what some feel is the most challenging section of the trail. After thirty five miles of steep climbs and drops you arrive at Rainy Pass Lodge the checkpoint on Puntilla Lake.
CP 5 Rohn Cabin- mile 200
If the route from Finger lake to Puntilla Lake is the most challenging the next section from Puntilla over Rainy Pass to Rohn is potentially the most dangerous. The Pass is subject to the extremes of Alaska's winter storms. New or blowing snow can cover the trail making route finding difficult and gale force winds can drop visibility to zero and the wind chill off the charts. Avalanche danger can be high through the pass and each racer must determine for themselves if they should continue, scratch or wait until conditions stabilize. Rohn is just a spot on the map with a Bureau of Land Management public use cabin and an airstrip for small ski planes. The cabin is occupied by Iditarod Sled Dog Race workers during our race and we set up a tent camp for racers. If the weather has been bad over Rainy Pass the tent camp feels like the Hilton to weary racers with two hundred miles of trail behind them.
The trail leaves Rohn, crosses the South Fork of the Kuskokwim River and up into the Farewell Hills. On this section racers may have to yield the right of way to a herd of woodland bison which were introduced years ago and have thrived and multiplied. Dropping out of the Alaska Range you find yourself crossing the Farewell Burn the site of a large forest fire that burned over a million acres leaving a stark landscape that has inspired a variety of hallucinations in sleep deprived racers. On this side of the Alaska Range racers have entered the interior climate zone and typically the coldest section of the trail. As a racer I have seen temperatures drop below minus forty on the trail from Rohn all the way to McGrath.
The bear creek BLM shelter cabin is the only shelter racers can find between Rohn and Nikolai. The cabin is about 50 miles beyond Rohn and the turn off the main trail is well marked. The cabin is about one mile off the main trail.
CP 7 Nikolai- mile 300
Forty two miles from Bison Camp you arrive in the Athabascan village of Nikolai and our checkpoint is the home of Nick and Olene Petruska. After a good meal and the warmth of the Petruska's home competitors leave Nikolai on the final stretch to the finish of the three hundred fifty mile race to McGrath.
CP 8 McGrath- mile 350
This section of trail crosses miles of frozen swamps travels down the Kuskokwim River then goes overland the last few miles into McGrath to the finish line at the home of Peter and Tracy Schneiderheinze. Finishers are greeted with a bear hug from Peter a warm welcome from Tracy and enough food to kill most normal folks but if you were normal you wouldn't have just finished a human powered race through three hundred fifty miles of Alaskan winter wilderness so eat hearty and enjoy!!