Nunavut Post

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Nunavut Quest returns to keep sled dog tradition alive in Baffin province


Key takeaways: 

  • The race has been delayed this year by blizzard situations along the way.
  •  Nunavut Quest musher in Arctic Bay, Nunavut, partaking in a time trial race ahead of this year’s event. 
  • Thirteen contenders left Arctic Bay on Monday, heading for Igloolik. 

It was a long delay since the last Nunavut Quest sled dog race — and even the event now underway has affected some waiting.

“Today, they were waiting in camp three — they weren’t traveling today because of increased winds,” said Tanya Haulli, one of the race managers, on Friday. Haulli is based in Igloolik, Nunavut, where the mushers are anticipated to come in the following days.

“I felt it was windy, but [my husband] said it’s a rather full-blown blizzard.”

The Nunavut Quest is a significant event in the Baffin province, but it was revoked for two years because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Thirteen mushers began the race on Monday to run their dog units from Arctic Bay to the finish line in Igloolik.

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The Nunavut Quest is a significant event in the Baffin province

It’s a small way of almost 400 kilometers, over sea ice and tundra, in sometimes extreme Arctic climate. There are no neighborhoods along the way and seven designated camp areas around 50 kilometers apart.

As of Friday, one musher had fallen out of the race because dogs had chewed up his harnesses and lead ropes.  

“We’re continuously moving our events plan [in Igloolik] according to their expected arrival,” Haulli said.

“Occasionally, they can try to catch up and run a little other. But for this one, since they’re a little more back, we told that they can take their dogs over to the next camp and begin their race from there and end here a little earlier — so they don’t get stuck.”

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