Sled dog team ascends trail amid snow-covered, forested mountains.

Things are quiet this hour in the current standings of the 2020 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

The top four mushers are still currently biding their time at the Circle checkpoint, before continuing on to their 60-mile descent towards their next stop: the Slaven’s Roadhouse dog drop and then onwards to the next official checkpoint at Eagle. Current race leader Michelle Phillips has been in Circle since 3:45am and has yet to leave. Phillips elected not to rest at the previous checkpoint.

Brent Sass in second position has been in the checkpoint for about four hours, with fellow American Cody Strathe and his lead dog Turkey nipping at his heels, checking in three minutes behind.

While Allen Moore is still holding on to fourth position, fifth position has just gone to Swedish musher Torsten Kohnert, who checked into Circle at 8:15am, jumping ahead of Canadian Jason Campeau and his Atka kennel dogs.

Red lantern rookie Olivia Webster is still the only musher in the central checkpoint with 11 dogs.

While it’s still early, the 2020 race has seen its first penalty. Currently in thirteen position, veteran Chase Tingle was issued a time penalty of one hour for replacing broken parts on his sled at Mile 101. According to Quest race rules, mushers are not allowed to alter their sleds, so if something breaks, they have to race as is. 

Image at top: Musher and team on the Yukon Quest trail. Photo: Julien Schroder, Yukon Quest; used with permission.