City of Kaltag tells Iron Dog racers to keep on moving

snow machine

The city of Kaltag has changed its checkpoint status to “gas and go” only, which means Iron Dog racers coming through the checkpoint may re-fuel and then leave, according to the Iron Dog Race website. Earlier, a layover was available at this checkpoint on the way to Nome.

“We were advised last night from the city that they are asking us not to have racers layover there,” said race marshal Tim Jauhola. He said racers should not take off their helmets in Kaltag, a village of about 190 people on the West Bank of the Yukon River, 489 miles from the start . It’s likely the village doesn’t want to risk a case of Covid infecting the small Native community, which has limited medical resources.

The Iron Dog is the world’s longest and toughest snow machine race, which covers more than 2,600 miles, starting in Wasilla and turning around in Nome. The expedition class racers, which are the noncompetitive class, started Feb. 17 in Big Lake, and will finish on Feb. 22 in Nome. The pro class started on Feb. 19 at the Menard Center in Wasilla and end on Feb. 26 back in Wasilla.

“Racers are leaving McGrath as we speak,” Jauloa said online. “They are either going to layover this evening in Ruby or Galena, and possibly Unalakleet, if someone decides to push that far.”

The only team to scratch so far is Team 28. The father-son duo of Steven and Sven Gustafson turned around at Puntilla Lake after one of them crashed and hurt his shoulder. They are returning to Wasilla.


  1. Hard to know what to make of this. Is it, “Nothing to see here folks, move along.” or “You’re not welcome.”?

  2. Funny when fellow Americans think they have the right to tell other free Americans they can’t exist in “their” town.

    • Agreed, and who do we have to rely on when push comes to shove. Aren’t we all in this together, or is it every one for him/herself?

      • First, Christ, he shares the. Fathers grace and mercy with us. The next one, we each come to salvation as we seek him out. God has no grandchildren, so salvation isn’t dertermined by the ancestral good works nor faith by family members.
        So that we can exend grace and hospitality to others even when we think they don’t deserve it, or fear discourages us.

  3. Unfortunately many villages will continue to live in fear about Covid. This could go on indefinitely and cause them to live intently secluded which is not a good thing. Sad situation.

  4. A little empathy goes a long way, folks. The villages have long memories. The Spanish Flu killed of entire villages which disappeared. Maybe cut village folks a little slack in the “better safe than sorry” mode. Of course, they are not at risk particularly, but if they think they are, the are entitled to that opinion and are obviously allowed to do as they please with their own village.

    • The Covidian Flu is leaps and bounds less dangerous than the Spanish Flu was, Tamra.
      I refuse to condone or tolerate other peoples’ wildly irrational hysteria and paranoia, particularly when that hysteria and paranoia leads to calls for the unjustified and inexcusable violation of fundamental freedoms.

  5. Follow the science? What science? The science that Fauci and the mainstream media is putting in front of us? And that science is constantly changing. Don’t wear a mask, wear 2 masks, leave your groceries in the garage for 3 days, if ya get the jab ya don’t have to wear a mask, now ya need a booster, no, ya need a second booster. If a person is to follow that science, you’d be like a blind dog in a meat house. The worst part of all of this is that the medical profession is losing credibility by constantly moving the goal posts. Wolf!! Wolf!! Remember that story?

  6. The sad part is that many of these small villages have very little media access to the outside world. In other words, they get fake news and that’s about it. They are only hurting themselves as they will have no contact with the outside world and their bodies won’t develop immunities. They’ll basically live in a bubble.

  7. When the folks from Kaltag come into Fairbanks to get their free stuff and hang out at the bars for a few days, do we tell them to “keep moving?”
    To Anchorage?

    • Usually, no. But I wish they would quit squatting on 2nd Avenue and relieving themselves in front of the tourists.

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