Pleasant Valley community lends a paw to Summit Quest 300 dogsled race

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 3:21 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Saturday, February 13th, the Pleasant Valley Store in Pleasant Valley, Alaska played host to the Summit Quest 300 dogsled race. A modified version of the Yukon Quest, made necessary by border restrictions with Canada and barriers to international travel.

Hundreds of spectators gathered round the makeshift trailhead as 18 sled dog teams and their mushers began their 300 mile journey.

According to Musher’s Representative Doug Grilliot, the race was moved from downtown Fairbanks due in part to construction on the Wendell Avenue Bridge overlooking the Chena River.

“Becky Alexander was nice enough to host us out here at Pleasant Valley Store, and we just decided to move the start out of town.”

Pleasant Valley Store owner Alexander said it’s satisfying to see the race come together.

“I’ve been a supporter of the Quest for 30 years, and we love dog mushing. I mean, this is the dog mushing capital of the world.”

Among the changes this year is the requirement that each dog team receive at least 22 hours of rest during the course of the race, compared to the traditional 6 hours.

“We’re just hoping that that’ll really increase what we consider already really good vet care and dog care for this organization,” Grilliot said.

Trail veterinarian Mercedes Pinto works with other volunteers to address health issues both large and small along the trail.

Pinto said, “Every single dog that runs this race has had a full examination, so nose to tail, hearts, lungs, teeth, feet and a full orthopedic exam, everything and in-between, to make sure they’re healthy, fit to run.”

She said she enjoys the community that springs up annually for the Yukon Quest, explaining, “There are so many amazing people that make this race happen, even this year when things have been really, really difficult.”

Alexander echoed those sentiments and said she was glad to see the race go on. “With COVID and everything else, it wasn’t really sure if it was going to happen.”

And Grilliot was pleased with the result. “Beautiful day out here. Had a few spectators come out, which we appreciate,” he said.

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