Iditapod

Iditapod Podcast

The Iditapod is a podcast following the Last Great Race, from Alaska Public Media and KNOM Radio. This daily podcast about the Iditarod Sled Dog Race takes you out on the trail -- into checkpoints, down along the sea ice, and across the finish line in Nome. Hear interviews with mushers, behind the scenes news, and in-depth race analysis you won't find anywhere else. For episodes from season one of the Iditapod visit www.alaskapublic.org/iditapod

Girdwood interview with Nicolas Petit
In this (probably) final bonus episode for Season 3 of the Iditapod, Girdwood's Nicolas Petit reflects on what happened that caused his dog team to stop between Shaktoolik and Koyuk and how he decided to scratch from the 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Thanks to Mark Thiessen at the Associated Press for sharing this interview with us....

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S3E17: Iditapod epilogue
The 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is over, and we left off in our last episode with a lot of loose ends. So here's to tying up loose ends, maybe a minor correction and hoisting the Red Lantern and other awards we failed to mention earlier! Also: We play "Can't Let It Go," because, frankly, we can't get over -- or done with -- the Iditapod. But we have to! See you next year!...

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S3E16: A new trio of elite women mushers
It happened, because Paige Drobny made it happen: The top 10 of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race includes three women for the first time ever. Fans of Drobny, Aliy Zirkle and Jessie Royer are ecstatic, as are some Bethel residents who were cheering on 2019 Iditarod champion Pete Kaiser. We hear from them in this episode, plus a lightning round of questions and... a couple special guests!...

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Ask a Climatologist: Iditarod edition
Like it is affecting a lot of things in the north, our warming climate is affecting the Last Great Race. There are some nuances, however, and to suss it all out, we brought in our resident climatologist, Brian Brettschneider with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who we hear from regularly on a segment on Alaska Public Media called Ask a Climatologist. Brettschneider says mushers and others on Alaska's western coast are seeing open water because a confluence of factors has caused historic low sea ice in t...

S3E15: Kaiser Racing team hangs on for first Iditarod win
That’s right: Iditarod has a new champion. And it’s really looking like we’re going to have three women in the top 10 for the first time in 47 years for the Last Great Race. As for the pride and swelling hearts of Bethel, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, maybe all of Western Alaska, Peter Kaiser and eight dogs crossed under the Burled Arch in Nome at 3:39 a.m. Alaska time Wednesday trailed only 12 minutes later by the 2018 champ, Joar Leifseth Ulsom....

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Nome interview with Pete Kaiser
After the excitement of the race finish, Pete Kaiser adjourned to the nearby Mini Convention Center for a brief question-answer session with reporters. The first half of the discussion was moderated by Andy Angstman, a race official and longtime friend of Kaiser’s from Bethel. You’ll hear a few questions from Angstman before it was opened up to reporters, all in front of several dozen fans and supporters there in spite of the early hour....

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Breaking news: Bethel's Pete Kaiser wins 2019 Iditarod
A new Iditarod champion has been crowned. Bethel musher Pete Kaiser’s team of 8 dogs crossed under the Burled Arch in Nome at 3:39 a.m. Wednesday, March 13, 2019. A boisterous crowd of friends and family from the Bethel area traveled to Nome to celebrate Kaiser’s victory. The 31-year-old wins $50,000 and a new truck. It’s a career highlight for Kaiser, who has raced the iditarod each year since 2010. On three separate occasions he’s placed as high as 5th, but this is his first win. His run took 9 days 12 ho...

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S3E14: Kaiser poised for first Iditarod win
Heading into a final, mandatory, eight-hour rest in White Mountain about 40 minutes in the lead, Bethel's Peter Kaiser could be set up to win his first Iditarod in his team's 10th race. But anything can happen in that final 77 miles, and the defending champ, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, is not far behind. We also talk to some former champs about how they're in the middle of the pack and running a totally different kind of race. Plus: There's no sea ice! But there is Snack Attack with Ben and Zach!...

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Unalakleet interview with Martin Buser
This is an interview with longtime Iditarod racer and four time champ Martin Buser from Big Lake and comes to us by way of Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes in Unalakleet on Monday. Buser's originally from Switzerland and his voice and exuberance for mushing are ever-present in Iditarod. But he’s getting older....

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S3E13: Heartbreak for Petit as team quits on the coast
The team of Girdwood musher Nicolas Petit stalled on the edge of Norton Bay, allowing Bethel's Pete Kaiser to race past, as well as several others. Petit had been leading for most of the race, and Monday afternoon, it was still uncertain if he'd even finish. We hear from Petit, and we hear from Kaiser who now might be set up to win his first Iditarod. That, plus explanations of Mushergrams, Teacher on the Trail and... whatever happened to Pilot Rob?...

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Breaking news: Petit stalls, Kaiser takes lead into Koyuk
Welcome to some breaking news on the Iditapod. Monday morning saw a huge lead change in the 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, as the team of Girdwood musher Nicolas Petit has stalled on the coast, allowing Bethel’s Pete Kaiser, the race’s current leader, and at least three others to pass him. We hear from Petit out on the sea ice, via Iditarod Insider....

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S3E12: Big push to the coast
Girdwood's Nicolas Petit stayed in the lead of the 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Sunday after making a long 90ish-mile run from Kaltag to Unalakleet overnight. We hear from a couple Yukon-Kuskokwim-area rookies in this year's race, and a couple YK-area parents with kids in the Iditarod. Plus, a question about climate change and a conversation with Iditarod musher Kristin Knight Pace, who has a book out called "This Much Country."...

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Anchorage interview with Kristin Knight Pace
Iditarod and Yukon Quest musher Kristin Knight Pace joins Alaska Public Media's Casey Grove in the studio for an interview about her book, This Much Country, and what's in it, including how she survived a divorce to find her true self in Alaska, eventually mushing dogs in the toughest long-distance races in the world, and starting a family....

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Takotna interview with Martin Apayauq Reitan
Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes talks with Kaktovik musher Martin Apayauq Reitan - a rookie in the 2019 Iditarod - in Takotna about his sled, damaged much earlier in the race at the Happy River Steps....

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Our 2019 trail reporters reunite in Unalakleet
Because the theme of this year's Iditapod is "Fun and Friendship," and because Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes and KNOM's Ben Matheson were reunited in Unalakleet ahead of the 2019 Iditarod frontrunners reaching that checkpoint and the coast of Alaska, here's a conversation between Ben and Zach and some of their tales from the trail....

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S3E11: Mushing the Mighty Yukon
Mushers headed north on the Yukon River on Saturday, with the front of the pack on their way to Kaltag, where they turn west and head toward the coast of Alaska. Bethel's Pete Kaiser had advanced his team to the front, and we hear more about how he's managed that from earlier planning, as well as about sled modifications and repairs happening on the trail. Also, Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes somehow works in an interview about Harry Potter books on tape with Martin Apayauq Reitan and Meredith Mapes...

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Shageluk interview with Paige Drobny
Ester musher Paige Drobny and her Squid Acres dogs (squids, she would say) have moved into the top 10 of the 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. At least, that's where they were Friday and Saturday, the highest position the team has had in and out of these later-race checkpoints, or maybe ever! Recorded with KNOM's Ben Matheson Friday in Shageluk....

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Shageluk interview with Jessie Royer
Front-of-the-pack 2019 Iditarod musher Jessie Royer talks to KNOM's Ben Matheson on Friday in Shageluk about having to drop a dog, what she's expecting from the trail ahead and how she feels about mushing near the front as one of the race's most competitive teams....

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Iditarod interview with Aliy Zirkle
Here's a quick, couple-minute interview with Two Rivers musher Aliy Zirkle recorded Thursday in the checkpoint of Iditarod, where she was taking her 24-hour rest. KNOM's Ben Matheson asked about Zirkle's move passing other teams taking their 24s earlier to take the lead....

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S3E10: Making it to the Yukon River
Top teams in the 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are reaching the Yukon River on Friday as the race enters its fifth day, with snow and more warm temperatures in the forecast. Girdwood's Nicolas Petit and Norwegian-by-way-of-Willow musher Joar Leifseth Ulsom have continued to leapfrog each other, with Nic winning a five-course meal in Anvik. We hear more about the different strategies as they came into focus earlier in the race and take a listener question about team positions for dogs....

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Ophir interview with Nicolas Petit
He's been running out in front of much of the 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, so clearly Nic Petit is a hard musher to catch up with, but KNOM's Ben Matheson had a nice long chat with the Girdwood local and 2018 runner-up Wednesday in Ophir, where Petit took his mandatory 24-hour layover. They talked about Nic's strategy of camping out more and how the dogs are doing - including, yes, more poop talk - among other things....

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Takotna interview with Matt Failor
An extended interview with Willow musher Matt Failor, with Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes in Takotna. Hear more from the man who named a litter of dogs after heavy metal bands about getting more attention after winning the Kuskokwim 300, how his Iditarod is going and how he saw a snowmachiner, trying to pass him, crash along the trail....

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The true story behind Dillon, the would-be Iditarod dog
Iditapod contributor Quince Mountain checks in from Winter Lake Lodge, a.k.a., thewhere a sled dog that lives at the lodge broke his chain and went for a run following Iditarod teams all the way up to Rainy Pass. Dillon's used to runs of up to 10 miles, but this was a 30-mile haul! Quince talks to lodge owner Carl Dixon and its manager, Lisa Rattan, about what they say is the real story....

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S3E9: Zirkle first to halfway. Plus: injuries, wildlife and litter names
Two Rivers musher Aliy Zirkle and all 14 of her SP Kennel dogs made it to the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race's halfway point, the Iditarod checkpoint, for her 24-hour layover. Other mushers coming off their 24s are expected through there Thursday. Earlier on their breaks, mushers shared stories of injuries, sled mishaps and wildlife encounters, as well as sled dog litter-naming conventions....

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Tough-as-nails Richie Diehl and his busted face
Aniak musher Richie Diehl talks in Takotna about hitting a tree -- face first -- earlier in the race and continuing down the trail. Interview by Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes on Wednesday, March 6, 2019....

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Quince Mountain checks in from... Skwentna?
Braver Mountain Mushing's Quince Mountain is out on the 2019 Iditarod trail trying to catch up with the mushers on a snowmachine. Due to some technical issues, he was only in Skwentna for our Wednesday phone call. That's about 80 miles into the trail, and Wednesday saw leaders into the Iditarod checkpoint, which is about 430 miles into the 1,000-mile race. But.. Quince is alive and OK, and that's the important part. We talked about the journey so far, somehow even got on the topic of dog poop (again) and wh...

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McGrath interview with Aliy Zirkle
This is an extended interview with Two Rivers musher Aliy Zirkle in McGrath, recorded Tuesday, March 5, 2019 by KNOM Radio's Ben Matheson....

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S3E8: Taking 24-hour rests, as Aliy takes the lead
In this episode, we have a race update as mushers start to take their mandatory 24-hour rests at different checkpoints, part of the strategy of running the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and we talk to the mushers at McGrath and Tokotna. Early Wednesday saw last year's runner-up, Nicolas Petit, in the lead for a time, heading into Ophir. But three-time second-place finisher Aliy Zirkle left that ghost town checkpoint before Petit and was mushing in first place prior to taking her 24. Plus, we answer a listen...

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McGrath interview with Nic Petit
This is a bonus extended interview with Nicolas Petit in McGrath, where KNOM's Ben Matheson caught up with him, along with... another reporter whose name we do not know yet! This interview was recorded Tuesday, March 5, 2019....

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S3E7: Rainy Pass, race rookies and Rohn axe-throwing
In Episode 7, we talk to mushers making preparations at the Rainy Pass checkpoint, as well as some first-time Iditarod racers and... some volunteers staying entertained by throwing axes? Speaking of throwing axes (loosely), we also answer a question about what happens if you get hurt out on the trail....


S3E6: The first 100 miles
We check in from the trail, where mushers covered the first 100-plus miles from the Willow restart Sunday to the first checkpoints, Yentna and Skwentna, and on to Finger Lake. Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes talked to mushers at Skwentna overnight, and we take a listener question on sled design. Also, today's episode features an extended interview with Ester musher Paige Drobny, an Iditarod veteran and one of a record field of female mushers....

S3E5: Clock ticking after Willow restart
Fifty-two mushers headed out of Willow as the 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race began in earnest Sunday, March 3. Iditapod host Casey Grove is joined by KNOM's Ben Matheson and Braver Mountain Mushing's Quince Mountain for discussions of the restart, early-race strategy and some of the numbers of the Iditarod, including that this year's race features the highest-ever percentage of female mushers....


S3E4: The Ceremonial Start
We talk about why the Ceremonial Start in downtown Anchorage is a thing, hear what mushers are talking about this year, and visit with the Trailgaters. It's the last time anyone gets to catch their breath before the real start of the race. And maybe catch a few hotdogs, too....

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S3E3: This year's race
We talk about trail conditions, which teams look like contenders for the Top 10, our Rookie Of The Year Picks, and the best ways to follow the race. Also, a quick intro to our team on the trail....

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Extended interview with Brent Sass
As promised in Season 3, Episode 1, here's an extended cut of the interview with two-time Yukon Quest champion Brent Sass of Eureka, the location of his kennel, Wild and Free mushing....


S3E2: The racing season so far
We take a quick look back at competitive mid-distance sled dog races that many Iditarod mushers use as qualifier or tune-up races. And though he's not in Iditarod this year, we talk to Yukon Quest champion Brent Sass about that race, his plans to return to Iditarod next year and who he thinks could win this year. We also take a visit to Alpine Creek Lodge off the Denali Highway, a remote yet comfortable training ground for established and up-and-coming dog teams alike....

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S3E1: An abridged history of Alaska mushing and 2018 Iditarod
Ramping up our 2019 Iditarod coverage, we look back at the history of dog mushing in Alaska, the dawn of long-distance racing and... yes, we talk a little about last year's race....

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S2E16: Wrapping up from Nome
Alaska Public Media's reporter on the Iditarod Trail, Zachariah Hughes, talks from Nome about the scene there as race finishers mush into town, and KNOM interviews with third-place finisher Mitch Seavey shed some light on his race, including a tough trail along the Bering Sea coast and becoming better friends with Joar Leifseth Ulsom (the new champ!) and runner-up Nicolas Petit. Plus, we go rapid-fire with questions about how fast the dogs run, trail mail and the Burled Arch....

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S2E15: A new Norwegian champ, and the runner-up reflects
The Iditarod has crowned a new Norwegian champion: Joar Leifseth Ulsom. The 31-year-old pulled under Nome’s Burled Arch at 3 a.m. Wednesday with eight dogs in harness to claim his first championship, taking the win in Iditarod 46. Ulsom is the first Norwegian musher to win the thousand-mile sled dog race since Robert Sørlie in 2005. Girdwood's Nicolas Petit arrived a little over two hours later, and he spoke to reporters about how his race went and where it went wrong....

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S2E14: The ol' Norwegian switcheroo, and the old guard passes the mantle
There was a major shakeup at the front of the 2018 Iditarod on Monday, when Joar Leifseth Ulsom slipped past previous leader Nicolas Petit while Petit lost the trail on the Bering Sea coast between Shaktoolik and Koyuk. The table is now set for Ulsom, first to White Mountain and only 77 miles from the finish in Nome, to win his first Iditarod championship and the first for a Norwegian -- or anybody else not originally from the U.S. -- since 2005. But, as we hear in this episode, a lead and a long rest at Wh...

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S2E13: Onto coastal ice, DeeDee in UNK and oh snaps! Plus, Dallas Seavey in Norway
It's Monday and the frontrunners in the 2018 Iditarod are on the Bering Sea coast, venturing out on a trail over sea ice from Shaktoolik to Koyuk. Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes caught up with the top three -- Nicolas Petit, Mitch Seavey, Joar Leifseth Ulsom -- in Unalakleet on Sunday, as well as the legendary musher DeeDee Jonrowe, who scratched earlier in what she says was her last Iditarod after 36 total starts. We also hear from a Norwegian mushing reporter on four-time Iditarod champ Dallas Sea...

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S2E12: Petit leads, but how did we get here? Plus: Fantasy mushing..?!
As Girdwood's Nicolas Petit, Norwegian Joar Leifseth Ulsom and defending champ Mitch Seavey lead a chase pack to Unalakleet and the Bering Sea coast, we talk to Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes about how the 2018 Iditarod shaped up like this and how that chase pack got so bunched up. Also on today's Iditapod, we have a report from KCAW's Katherine Rose about a way for Iditarod fans around the world to get connected to the race: fantasy mushing....

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S2E11: Scramble in Anvik, slog up the Yukon and Takotna survives on pies
With the Iditarod leaders on the mighty Yukon River and through the village checkpoint of Grayling, we hear about how weather prevented flying supplies to Eagle Island and caused the checkpoint to be downgraded to a mere "hospitality stop." That's why mushers scrambled to get mandatory rest in earlier and why they had to load up on supplies before one of the most formidable overnight trips of the race. Plus, back in Takotna, the village reflects on why it's been so steady as a checkpoint over the years, and...

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S2E10: First to the Yukon, Alaska Native mushers and a bison encounter
Friday morning saw Girdwood musher Nicolas Petit charge ahead leading the 2018 Iditarod to Anvik after passing teams resting in the ghost town checkpoint of Iditarod. As the first to reach the Yukon River, Petit is treated to a five-course meal. The main course is bison, which is an animal Whitehorse's Marcelle Fressineau encountered very much alive and not on a dinner plate farther back on the trail. We talk to Fressineau about how she fended off the bison with an axe, as well as some of the Alaska Native ...

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S2E9: Leaders into Iditarod, where to 24 and snack attack returns!
As Iditarod mushers decide when and where to take their mandatory 24-hour layovers, the leaders are in to the ghost town of Iditarod. And our trail reporters are breaking into their snack packs! Also, we hear from a Takotna elder about the moose he shot and fed at the village checkpoint....

S2E8: An icon drops out, 24-hour rests and dog-doping reignites
A lot has happened since the last podcast: Willow musher DeeDee Jonrowe has scratched in her 36th Iditarod, which she said would be her last. Meantime, front-of-the-pack mushers are taking their 24-hour layovers, so this is a good time to talk about how times are adjusted to correct from the staggered, every-two-minute race starts. Plus: More off-trail drama related to dogs and drugs! Sheesh! We talk to a fellow Iditarod reporter about what has been described as a confrontational encounter between the race'...

S2E7: Race day 3, and tricky mushing out of Rainy Pass
Things get pretty technical for Iditarod mushers heading out of the Rainy Pass checkpoint and into the Dalzell Gorge before Rohn and Nikolai. Plus, we hear from animal-rights activist and documentary filmmaker Fern Levitt, and we get four-time Iditarod Jeff King's take on criticism of dog mushing....

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S2E6: Race day 2, plus Rookie of the Year contenders
In less than 24 hours, the Iditarod front-runners have made it to the Finger Lake checkpoint, 123 miles into the 1,000-mile race. But not before checking in at Yentna and Skwentna, the first two checkpoints after leaving Willow. And, even before that, KNOM's Davis Hovey caught up with two top candidates for Rookie of the Year: Two Rivers' Matt Hall and Nenana's Jessie Holmes....

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S2E5: Race clock ticking after Willow restart
Mushers in the 2018 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are officially on course for the 1,000-mile trek to Nome after the restart in Willow. We take a rather, uh, unique question from a listener, and Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes does whatever it takes to get an interview....

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S2E4: Ceremonial start and the trail-side parties
The 2018 Iditarod kicks off with the ceremonial start in Anchorage and an 11-mile jaunt through downtown and the city's trails, past race revelers that call themselves "trailgaters." We introduce KNOM News Director and trail reporter Davis Hovey, and hear from DeeDee Jonrowe, Nicolas Petit and some of the folks along the trail....

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S2E3: The season so far, and a look ahead
We look at two of the most dramatic races of the season so far, the Kuskokwim 300 and the Yukon Quest. Host Casey Grove speaks with KUAC's Zoe Rom, Ben Matheson, and Zachariah Hughes about what this year's mushing season can tell us about the Iditarod ahead....

S2E2: What the heck is happening?
We look at three major problems hitting Alaska's mushing community ahead of the Iditarod. ADN's Tegan Hanlon and Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes sit down with host Casey Grove to discuss the whirlwind of recent news, including a doping scandal, musher mutiny, and increasing pressure from animal rights groups....

S2E1: A look back at last year's race
Host Casey Grove speaks with trail correspondents Ben Matheson and Zachariah Hughes about the 2017 Iditarod, what stuck out, and what's ahead in this year's podcast....

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