Enthusiasm for the Yukon River Quest is at an all-time high this year, with a record-setting field of 119 teams currently registered. That doesn’t surprise anyone, says board president, Deb Bartlette, considering the 2020 race was a no-go due to the pandemic and 2021 was cancelled due to flooding.

“I get emails every day from paddlers about how excited they are to actually be able to come back, or to come to the Yukon for the first time and to be able to race this year,” says Bartlette.

When the race starts on June 22, 257 paddlers will represent 13 countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. They’re racing for a purse of $59,000, under slightly different circumstances than in previous years.

Changes to the 2022 edition of the race include the following:

    • Due to higher water levels creating less shoreline access, there will be two start times, at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. on June 22.

There are two checkpoints at Carmacks this year, at Coalmine Campground and the Bridge Site (the old YG campground). The Bridge Site will accommodate solo and tandem canoes and kayaks.

There is a new checkpoint at Minto Resort, replacing the former checkpoint at Coffee Creek.

This is the first time the race will have two road-accessible layover checkpoints.

Teams must take a mandatory 10-hour layover at the Carmacks and Minto checkpoints, but teams may divide those hours as they see fit.

    • This year’s race is officially dedicated to long-time paddler, Ingrid Wilcox, who died of cancer in 2021. It also remembers race stalwarts Robert Carlin “Buckwheat” Donahue Jr., Linda Rapp, Shelley Gellatly, and Bob Daffe.

Water levels are currently being monitored to assess risk. Any changes to final race format will be made and relayed to racers by June 10.

The Awards Ceremony will be an outdoor event at Fort Herchmer, behind the Commissioner’s House in Dawson City.

At any indoor locations along the race route, or places where people are in close quarters, masks are strongly recommended.

Photo: Yukon River Quest
Photo: Yukon River Quest

To follow along from June 22 to June 25, view the Race Tracker link at www.yukonriverquest.com, or check in for updates on YRQ’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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