ANCHORAGE, AK (Erie News Now) – The Iditarod sled dog race is well underway, with 49 dog teams crossing Alaska, on the path toward Nome. Now dog teams started arriving at the McGrath checkpoint.
Last weekend the 50th Iditarod sled dog race officially got underway in Anchorage Alaska and Western New York resident, Tiger Schmittendorf who calls this experience a bucket list item, was up close and personal.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to be there for the 50th anniversary was really a big deal,” he said, “It’s everything you could imagine and everything you would think of when you think of a race like that.”
He told Erie News Now the weather was ideal and they got 14 inches of snow the night before the race. Sled dog races take place across the nation, like in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan last month, but they all lead up to this nearly one-thousand-mile trek in Alaska nicknamed the last great race.
49 mushers and their teams are making their way through the course now. An exciting year to be back, especially following the pandemic. Schmittendorf said crowds lined the streets for about 10 blocks at the starting point, and you could feel it in the air that people were thrilled to be there and thrilled to have tourists back in anchorage.
“People were just so friendly and so accommodating and just really warm and welcoming,” Schmittendorf said.