Examples of questions, from students around North America, answered by our featured musher Doug Harris .

1. What do you find, personally, the most exciting thing about dog sledding?
I enjoy travelling with the dogs, seeing them work as a team. It is nice to get out and enjoy the spectacular scenery, without the noise of a snow machine.

2. What is the longest race you have ever competed in?
The Yukon Quest (1600 km).

3.What kind of dogs do you prefer using?
Alaskan Huskies (or Heinz 57s).

4.What is the hardest part of the race for you, and why?
The hardest part is worrying about the health of the team. There are certain factors which I have no control over, like viruses. Also the sleep deprivation is difficult.

5. How many dogs are on your team?
The maxium number of dogs a team can have is 14. So I will have 14 on the day of the race.

6. Have you ever run into a pack of wolves?
I have never had a run in with a pack of wolves. However, I have seen them and they disappear very quickly when they spot the team.

7. How many Yukon Quests have you participated in?
One in 1996, when I placed sixth.

8. How fast do the dogs run?
On average the dogs run about 10 miles/hour. They start out faster and run considerably slower at the end.

9. Does it matter if you use male or female dogs?
I have four female dogs on my team. I think they make the best leaders. They bond well with the males, and the males won't challenge them.

10. How long does it take to finish the Yukon Quest?
It can take anywhere from 12 to 16 days to finish the Quest.

11. Have you ever had a lead dog stop unexpectedly?
I have never had the lead dog stop unexpectedly. If it happened, there are three other leaders that could take over the position.

12. Do the dogs slow down during the race, due to fatigue?
Yes the dogs do tend to slow down during the race. They get into their "traveling pace" which they seem to be able to hold forever.

13. If a harness or your sled requires repair during the race, is the team diqualified?
If your equipment fails on you it is your responsibility to fix it along the trail. We carry spare parts so we can deal with those situations. There is a mandatory layover in Dawson City, during which you can get outside help with your equipment. You would only be disqualified if you received outside help along the trail.

14. Are there any female mushers?
There are women dog mushers, this year at least three are in the Quest.

15. What is the reward for the first place musher?
The mushers reward for winning the Quest is around $30 000.

16. Do you enjoy being in the Quest?
I enjoy being part of the Quest very much. It is a large commitment, so one must enjoy it.

17. Is there a part of the race you do not enjoy?
The aspect of the race I don't enjoy is driving the dogs when they are tired, or just waking up.


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