Brent Sass headlines 2024 Yukon Quest Alaska 300 roster

Published: Oct. 5, 2023 at 3:07 PM AKDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2023 at 4:22 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Eureka musher Brent Sass — winner of six total Yukon Quest races — highlights the nine teams who signed up for the 2024 Yukon Quest Alaska 300-mile race slated to begin Feb. 3 in Fairbanks.

Brent Sass
Sydnie Bahl
Keaton Loebrich
Steve Humes
Lauro Ecklund
Josi Thyr
Kelly Ridley
Rohn Buser
Anna Hennesy

Sass is a three-time champion of the traditional 1,000-mile Quest, winning in 2015, 2019 and 2020. Sass also claimed victories in the YQA 550 in 2023 and won both Yukon Quest races on each side of the border in 2022.

Rohn Buser, son of four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser, is the only musher other than Sass to have competed in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, while Lauro Eklund, Josi Thyr and Anna Hennessy are signed up for their rookie Iditarod in 2024.

Kelly Ridley, Steve Humes, Ketton Loebrich and Syndie Bahl enter the Yukon Quest as rookies.

“If it’s a blizzard out you don’t stay home that day, you try to go out and train in the blizzard,” Bahl said at sign up day of her training method. “Right now we’re doing fall training for the dogs, and going up Hatcher Pass and doing elevation training in the fall.”

Bahl’s team, like other endurance athletes, need several hundred miles under their belt before race day.

“Just as if you were a marathon runner, you know you’re gonna do tempo runs and hill training runs, so same thing with the dogs — we’re just trying to expose them to as many different conditions as possible so that race day comes and it’s exciting, it’s fun and it’s easy for them at that point,” Bahl said.

Yukon Quest Alaska shortened their premiere race in 2024 from 550 miles to 300 in August, as the Alaska and Canada boards continue to host separate races. The Alaska Board recently named Fairbanks’ as Lisa Nilson as Executive Director.

”We’ve gotten a lot of support already, so that’s really great,” Nilson said. “I actually just spoke with somebody, where he has never done the long distance race, last year he did the 80 mile and is signing up for the 300 this year. So that’s a big step for him, so anything like that hearing anybody taking that step or signing up, we’re really excited for them.”

Yukon Quest Alaska is also offering a 200- and an 80-mile race. More information on Yukon Quest Alaska Races can be found on their website, while the roster for the Yukon Quest Canada races can be found here.