Alaskan Brent Sass wins 2020 Yukon Quest sled dog race

Alaska musher Brent Sass at the 2020 Yukon Quest finish line in Whitehorse on Tuesday afternoon. ‘They did an amazing job,’ he said of his dogs. (Steve Silva/CBC)
Sass, who’s won the Yukon Quest twice before, arrived in Whitehorse on Tuesday afternoon

He was the lead musher for much of the race, and Brent Sass maintained that position coming across the finish line Tuesday in Whitehorse’s Shipyards Park.

For the second year in a row, Sass has won the Yukon Quest sled dog race. He also won the race in 2015.

On Tuesday, he arrived in Whitehorse to a cheering crowd of dozens of people just before 3 p.m.

“I’m extremely proud of that dog team down there, they did an amazing job,” Sass said on Tuesday. “They all excelled. It was a really fun race.”

1,600-kilometre race

Last week, he was also the first to reach the race’s halfway point at Dawson City.

The roughly 1,600-kilometre race began with 15 mushers in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Feb. 1. Four mushers have since quit.

Yukoner Michelle Phillips was the second to cross the finish line on Tuesday evening. She traded positions with Sass a few times during the race.

Phillips was one of three Canadian mushers remaining in the competition.

Sass said it was a “slog” at times, with windy conditions and snow-covered trail. Southern Yukon received a significant amount of snow on Monday and Tuesday.

“I mean, there was no trail for 300 miles on the Yukon [River] — it was totally blown in,” he said.

“I’ve run 13 Yukon Quests and I broke trail on this Quest ten times more than any of the other races put together. So yeah, it was a challenge.”

Next up, Iditarod

Sass said he’s now going to get his team ready for the Iditarod in Alaska next month. But first, he’s going to enjoy his win.

“Probably drink a few beers and have some celebrations here,” he said.

-With files from Steve Silva

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Yukon Quest mushers recount hairy times on stormy mountain pass, CBC News

Finland: Ice fishing World Championships latest in Finnish series of odd sports events, Yle News

Norway: Swedish musher wins Finnmarksløpet, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Alaskan Pete Kaiser wins 2019 Iditarod dog sled race, Alaska Public Media

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