Winterdance Race Team Training Run
Hank DeBruin and the Winterdance race team training for the 2011 Yukon Quest
Photo:  Tanya McCready-DeBruin


This is the home page for a cross-curricular study unit I designed for my Grade 5/6 class.  The unit, which ran from early-January through late-February 2011, included dog sledding-related connections to the Ontario language, math, science, social studies and arts curricula.  One of the most exciting aspects of this unit was tracking local musher Hank DeBruin and his team of Siberian Huskies, as they tackled the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. 

This year, the race began on February 5th and ran from Whitehorse, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska. The buttons on the right lead to sub-pages depicting our class' learning activities before, during and after the race. Below, you will find a detailed account of Hank's race experience, including quotes, pictures and links to videos, in reverse chronological order.

Thank you to Hank, his wife Tanya, and the entire Winterdance Race Team for their assistance with this unit. My students and I were incredibly inspired by Hank's fortitude and perseverance and learned not only curriculum, but also many life lessons, while watching Hank work toward fulfilling a personal goal of completing his first 1,000 mile sled dog race!

Margaret A. Black

Latest News

Monday, June 13
Students complete their "Reflections" about the project.

Friday, June 10th

Hank DeBruin, his wife Tanya and daughter Jessica pay a visit to our class!  See the "Post-Race" section of this website for details...

Sunday, March 20th

The Hank DeBruin Reading Challenge wraps up. Between February 1st and March 20th, 26 Grade 5/6 students at our school completed over 66,000 minutes of reading!!!!

Friday, March 11th

Tanya posted the following video, recapping Hank's amazing Yukon Quest adventure, on the Winterdance Facebook page:

Wrap-up Video
Click here to view the video

Sunday, February 27th

Tanya posted this on the Winterdance Facebook page:  "Two items that aren't worth a fortune but have become 2 of Hank's most prized possessions in the last week and are absolutely priceless..."

The Red Lantern Award Yukon Quest Finisher Patch

"The Official Finishers Patch for the 2011 Yukon Quest. Only 260 some people in the world have ever finished the Yukon Quest."

"The Red Lantern. The symbol that burns until the last dog team has made it safely home. This red lantern is sponsored by and replicated after the White Pass Railroad, a historic train that still runs for tourists on the same tracks that brought the gold miners to the Yukon over 100 years ago."

Saturday, February 26th

At 1:00 p.m., Tanya posted the following on the Winterdance Facebook page:  "They're home!!!!!! Never heard 17 dogs make so much noise howling, barking and screaming as the truck drove up the driveway, they were SO excited to be back home!"

"A stunning mild winter day welcomes
everyone back to Haliburton. 15,500 km
on the trip meter since the truck left
home 4 weeks ago."
Banner by Hank's Children
"The kids worked hard making this
gorgeous banner for us, with Barb's
help and the guides messages!"

Thursday, February 24th

Hank's wife, Tanya, posted the following pictures and comment on the Winterdance Facebook page: "Mike the incredible trail coordinator for the Yukon Quest - Alaska side just forwarded me 2 pictures he took of Hank and the team reaching the summit of Eagle. As he said "this is the gradual slope of the very top after the team climbed the steepest section." Eagle is close to 4000' in elevation. Still looks like one heck of a climb and I can't help wondering if the "nothing" at the back of the picture is snow or the drop off..."

Hank and Team on Eagle Summit
"Lily & Maverick in lead, heads down
against the wind howling at them.
Even Hank's head is down
from both the wind and the work."
Hank and Team on Eagle Summit
"The summits are like being on the moon;
there is nothing there, just snow and sky
and for our team wind."

Wednesday, February 23rd
35,941 minutes down!

The results of our "Yukon Quest Reading Challenge" are in.  The 22 students in our class, plus four others who joined us from the other Grade 6 class, read for a combined total of 35,941 minutes during the 2011 Yukon Quest!  Students were so inspired by the idea of trying to complete 1,000 minutes of reading before Hank could complete the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest trail that they asked if they could compete in a similar challenge during the Iditarod!  Let the (reading) games continue...

Reading Challenge #2 UPDATE -- Friday, Feb. 25:
They're off again! Students could have rested in between the Quest and Iditarod, but some didn't want to stop reading. Ergo, the day after the Quest Reading Challenge ended several students took off up the Iditarod trail, ten days ahead of the actual mushers. Good luck catching my students, Lance Mackey & Co!

Pictured: the Iditarod checkpoints with mileages on the left; the Red Lantern and a "dog icon" representing each student's minutes of reading on the right.

Saturday, February 19th
982 miles, and all nine checkpoints down!
They arrived at the finish line in Fairbanks, Alaska at 10:06 p.m. AKST  (2:06 a.m. Ontario time)

Hank's rookie team was one of only thirteen teams to complete this year's race. Twelve other teams started the race, but were unable to finish. Hank won the "Red Lantern" perseverance award for being the last musher to cross the finish line. He arrived in Fairbanks 15 minutes too late to attend the "Finish and Awards Banquet," so Race Officials presented Hank with his award as he crossed under the banner at the final checkpoint.

Hank arriving in Fairbanks
Hank and his team arriving at the finish line!
Hank arriving in Fairbanks
Click here to view a brief video clip
of the arrival
Hank's Dogs in Fairbanks
Hank's dogs still looking energetic
after 1,000 miles on the trail!

Receiving a hug from Tanya
Hank receiving a welcoming hug

from his wife Tanya

One of Hank's dogs
Taking in the sights and sounds
of the finish line
Hank receiving the Red Lantern Award
Accepting the 2011 Yukon Quest
Red Lantern Award

Extinguishing the flame to signify
that the last musher has safely
arrived at the finish

13th 2011 Yukon Quest
Click here to download a copy of this graphic

Here's how the 28th Yukon Quest broke down "by the numbers":  7 out of 12 rookies who started the race finished; 6 out of 13 veterans who started the race completed it.  4 out of 6 women who started the race finished; 9 out of 19 men who started the race completed it. 10 of the finishers were American and 3 were Canadian. The first musher to complete the race (Dallas Seavey) ran the trail in 10 days, 11 hours and 53 minutes.  Hank completed the trail in 13 days, 10 hours and 54 minutes .

Friday, February 18th
Hank left the Two Rivers Checkpoint at 8:53 a.m. AKST (12:53 p.m. Ontario time). 
Hank's next stop is the finish line in Fairbanks, 72 miles from the Two Rivers Checkpoint!

At 7:00 a.m. AKST (11:00 a.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team wrote:  "They conquered Eagle & Rosebud summits & still look great! The team is on their mandatory 8 hour rest in 2 Rivers and will leave around 8:30 am AST. Stories to come about the summits, but Hank & the dogs came in all covered in snow & ice. Great run out of 101 especially when 12 caribou dashed in front of them. Look for Hank to cross the finish line tonight, will it be in time for the Banquet???!!!"

At 8:30 a.m. AKST (12:30 a.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team wrote:  "20 min until departure time, sled is packed light, dogs have eaten & Hank's having breakfast, 3" of fluffy snow on the trail from last night and warm. 70 some miles to go and we will have a Quest finisher on our hands ladies & gentlemen!!!!!"

At 6:00 p.m. AKST (10:00 p.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team wrote: 
"About 30 miles from 2 rivers is a road crossing that Ward and I waited at to help him cross. I couldn't believe the team!  They are smoking and having fun... the trails are tight wooded trails like home, plus with the snow & warm weather Hank let them run without coats or booties. They stopped until I got into the road, and the way the dogs were screaming to run it was like the starting line all over again. Complete strangers were stopping on the highway hollering out Hank's name and urging him and the team on :)"

Hank and team running to Fairbanks
Click here to view a short video clip of
Hank and the team running between
Two Rivers and Fairbanks

At 7:00 p.m. AKST (11:00 p.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team wrote:  "Yesterday when Hank found out he had to leave 4 hrs after getting into Central & again 4 hrs after getting into 101 he starting questioning if he & the dogs could do it. We put the computer in front of him with the 53 messages from all of you. By the time he was done reading his resolve was firm about finishing & climbing the summits. Thank you!!!!"

"[The tight schedule] was because 2 storms were to go through Eagle & Rosebud summits last night. They didn't want Hank stuck up there or on the far side. The wind hit Rosebud as he was 2/3 of the way across the top. He said it was like a physical force from nowhere just slammed him. I was glad to see his headlamp come down the hill last night."

Friday, February 18th
910 miles, and eight checkpoints down!
Hank arrived at the Two Rivers Checkpoint at 12:52 a.m. AKST  (4:52 a.m. Ontario time).
All mushers must layover at Two Rivers for eight hours, before completing the race.

Two Rivers Checkpoint
Two Rivers Checkpoint
Team napping at Two Rivers
Team napping at Two Rivers 

Thursday, February 17th
868 miles down!
Hank arrived at the "Mile 101" Dog Drop at 12:49 p.m. AKST  (4:49 p.m. Ontario time).

At 1:00 p.m. AKST (5:00 p.m. Ontario time) the authors of the Official Yukon Quest Facebook page wrote:  "Hank DeBruin has 'unofficially' (no official time yet) arrived in Mile 101. Congratulations from the crew. His huskies are a bit frosted up but look beautiful and not even tired. He said it was blowing like crazy on top but the team never tried to turn around. Videos will be available soon."

Hank arriving at Mile 101
Click here to see a video of Hank's
arrival at the Mile 101 Dog Drop
Mile 101 Checkpoint
Mile 101 Dog Drop

At 2:20 p.m. AKST (6:20 p.m. Ontario time), the authors of the Official Yukon Quest Facebook page wrote:  "Hank is warming in the cabin at 101- he sure was ready for the bacon, eggs, french toast, coffee and other goodies Kelly Kamper had ready for him - one more warm drink and he is off to bed for a quick nap- then he plans to get back on the trail to Two Rivers."

At 3:00 p.m. AKST (7:00 p.m. Ontario time), the authors of the Official Yukon Quest Facebook page wrote:  "Hank DeBruin has set a wake up call for 3:15 pm. He will probably leave around 4:30 pm. The last line of trail breakers will follow him later on to pull markers. They do have sat-phones in case help is needed. (doubtful, Hank's team looks good.)"

Hank left "Mile 101" for the Two Rivers checkpoint at 4:30 p.m. AKST (8:30 p.m. Ontario time).  Two Rivers is 42 miles from "Mile 101."  The main obstacle along this portion of the trail, is Rosebud Summit, which involves a series of climbs and descents.

Thursday, February 17th:
831 miles, and seven checkpoints down!
Hank arrived at the Central Checkpoint at 1:25 a.m. AKST  (5:25 a.m. Ontario time).   

Musher arriving at Central
Musher arriving at Central
Central Checkpoint
Central Checkpoint

At 7:00 a.m. AKST (11:00 a.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team wrote:  "Hank is out of Central at 6 am this morning with 9 dogs. He decided to leave Strider with us, he has had diarrhea since yesterday morning & just isn't feeling well, but Hank will miss him, he is such a strong member of the team! Hans came last night to see the back of the pack & tell them to be out of Central by 6 am as a storm is brewing in the pass & no one wants to be stuck in it. Run safe guys..."

Hank's challenge for today is the steep ascent up and over Eagle Summit, to the "Mile 101 Dog Drop."  "Mile 101" is 33 miles from Central.

Team Climbing Eagle Summit Team climbing Eagle Summit
Teams climbing Eagle Summit

Wednesday, February 16th
Hank left the Circle City Checkpoint at 8:16 a.m. AKST (12:15 p.m. Ontario time), bound for Central Checkpoint 74 miles away. This morning a 12th musher withdrew from the 25-team field. Hank is still running ten dogs and is currently the race's "red lantern" (final musher on the trail). 

At 11:15 a.m. AKST (3:15 p.m. Ontario time) Hank's support team wrote: "Sorry for the delay, but the internet is not at the checkpoint, which is where we have been with Hank. He left this morning around 8:30. 10 dogs in great spirits although the cold is wearing on him & the dogs. The dogs have been wearing their coats 24 hours a day for 4 days. This a.m. -47 in Circle, brutal cold, but a sunny day. We are back to Central now.  Watch for Hank to stop for 4 hrs midrun & be in late tonight."

Today Hank will be mushing along Birch Creek, where "overflow" has caused problems for several mushers. Hopefully, Hank's team will not have to wade through snow-covered slush and water, or have any issues with thin ice on the river.

Birch Creek
Birch Creek
Boots after wading through overflow
A musher's frozen boots, after wading
through "overflow" on Birch Creek

, February 16th:
757 miles, and six checkpoints down!
Hank arrived at the Circle City checkpoint at on Tuesday at 10:47 p.m. AKST (Wednesday at 2:47 a.m. Ontario time).

At 3:00 a.m. AKST (7:00 a.m. Ontario time), the authors of the Official Yukon Quest Facebook page posted the following:  "The last of the mushers has made it in to Circle. Hank DeBruin and his Siberians arrived in Circle @ 22:47, looking energetic. Hank's headlight, which has been giving him trouble since Dawson, resolved itself on this last run by catching on fire in his parka pocket!!"

Circle City Checkpoint
Musher approaching Circle City
Circle City Checkpoint
Circle City Checkpoint

Meanwhile, in Fairbanks...
On Tuesday at 11:05 p.m. AKST (Wednesday at 3:05 a.m. Ontario time), the first team completed this year's 1,000 mile Yukon Quest. Twenty-three year old Dallas Seavey won both the race and the Rookie of the Year Award. Seavey, who competed the race in 10 days, 11 hours and 53 minutes, is the youngest ever to win the Yukon Quest. 2009 Quest champion Sebastian Schnuelle crossed the finish line second. He finished thirty-three minutes behind Seavey. In third place was Ken Anderson, who completed the race two hours and two minutes after Schnuelle. In addition to third prize, Anderson wins four ounces of Klondike placer gold for being the first musher into Dawson City who completed the race. In fourth place was Brent Sass, who finished four hours and thirty-eight minutes after Anderson. Schnuelle and Sass each share the distinction of having rescued four-time Yukon Quest champion Hans Gatt from life-threatening situations during this year`s race. Sass pulled a hypothermic Gatt and his team off American Summit during a blizzard and Schnuelle pulled Gatt's team and sled out of Birch Creek, after they fell through thin ice. Gatt, whose fingers sustained second degree frostbite in the creek incident, subsequently scratched at the Central checkpoint, 831 miles into the 1,000 mile race. Kelley Griffin came arrived at the finish line exactly eight hours after Brent Sass.  She came in fifth and was the first woman to complete this year's race.

Tuesday, February 15th:
699 miles down!
Hank's team arrived at "Slaven's Roadhouse Dog Drop" at 3:41 a.m. AKST (7:41 a.m. Ontario time). 

Following a nine hour rest, at 12:30 p.m. AKST (4:30 p.m. Ontario time), Hank left for the Circle City checkpoint.  Circle is 58 miles away from Slaven`s.  Eleven of 25 mushers have now dropped out of the race.  Hank is still running ten dogs and is currently the race's "red lantern" (last) musher. 

Slaven's Roadhouse Slaven's Roadhouse
Slaven's Roadhouse Dog Drop, in Yukon-Charley National Park and Reserve

Gem is the dog Hank dropped at Eagle.  She had a sore shoulder, but will be fine. Gem has been transported to Circle, where she was reunited with Hank's support team, awaiting his arrival at the Central checkpoint.


Monday, February 14th
Hank dropped one dog and left the Eagle checkpoint at 3:40 a.m. AKST (7:40 a.m. Ontario time).  Hank's and four other teams at the back of the pack are en route to the Circle City checkpoint, 159 miles away.  Between Eagle and Circle City, there is one unofficial hospitality stop at Trout Creek, 43 miles from Eagle, and "Slaven's Roadhouse Dog Drop," 101 miles from Eagle and 58 miles from Circle City.

At 9:30 a.m. AKST (1:30 p.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team, on the road en route from Dawson City to Circle City, via Whitehorse and Fairbanks, wrote: "Hank's out of Eagle with 10 dogs at 3:30am behind Johannes. Jerry, Kyla & Tamara left a bit earlier. Didier returned & scratched :(  I don't know who Hank dropped.  Will find out this morning but I expect it may be Lily. She got sick coming into Dawson & lost a lot of weight. She ate well for us there but he was worried about her & with the extreme cold it becomes harder for dogs to maintain their weight."

Trout Creek Hospitality Stop
Trout Creek Hospitality Stop

Sunday, February 13th:
598 miles, and five checkpoints down!
Hank's team arrived in Eagle, Alaska at 4:40 p.m. AKST (8:40 p.m. Ontario time).
Mushers are required to layover for 4 hours in Eagle.

The old school house in Eagle hosts the official Yukon Quest checkpoint.  Eagle is the only official checkpoint on the race that is not accessible by road.

At 6:22 p.m. AKST (10:22 p.m. Ontario time), the authors of the Official Yukon Quest Facebook Page posted this message:  "Hank DeBruin's tracker was off-line for a long time. He was fine but the Tracker - not so good. When they brought it inside at the Eagle Checkpoint, the reset button would not bounce back; it was frozen. The group Hank was travelling with stayed last night at Wayne Hall's tent camp at the Forty Mile River Bridge; temperatures last night fell to -50 degrees F. Thanks Wayne, that tent camp is a life-saver!"  (-50 degrees F = -46 degrees C)

At 9:00 p.m. AKST (1:00 a.m. Monday, Ontario time), the authors of the Official Yukon Quest Facebook Page wrote: "Our six pack at the back has decided to stay overnight in Eagle- they are planning to travel together again and leave at 7:00 am- we don't have any communications folks left in Eagle but Judge Thomas Wiget just gave us a call in Central."

The Eagle Checkpoint
The Eagle checkpoint
Mushers' supplies at Eagle
Mushers' drop bags, straw and stove fuel
ready for their arrival

Sunday, February 13th:
554 miles down!
At approximately midnight AKST (4 a.m. Ontario time) Hank's group set up camp by the bridge where the Taylor Highway (closed in winter) crosses over the Forty Mile River.  In the morning, they will leave the river to travel up and over American Summit, and then down into the town of Eagle, Alaska. The section of trail from the bridge to Eagle is approximately 45 miles in length.

Bridge over Forty Mile River
Five teams, stopped in the clearing
by the Taylor Highway Bridge in 2007

Saturday, February 12th:
Hank left "Forty Mile" at 4:40 p.m. PST (7:40 p.m. Ontario time) headed for the Eagle checkpoint, 99 miles away.  He and four other "back of the pack" mushers are continuing to travel as a group.

The Forty Mile River
This leg of the race starts out along
the meandering Forty Mile River
American Summit
Then it leads over American Summit,
"which is often wind-blown and
challenging to navigate..."

Saturday, February 12th
499 miles down!
Hank's team arrived at the "Forty Mile Hospitality Stop" at 9:45 a.m. PST (12:45 p.m. Ontario time).  The other four teams he was travelling with made it to Forty Mile a few minutes ahead of him. 

Just before Hank arrived at Forty Mile, his support team in Dawson City posted this comment:  "A sigh of relief as the 5 mushers approach Forty Mile. As they left together last night the moon was trying to come out & the wind dying down... Seeing five headlamps disappear down the Yukon River into the night and hearing the howl of huskies echoing off the hills pulled everyone watching back in time 100 years. Mushers and huskies versus the untamed Yukon."

Forty Mile Hospitality Stop
The Forty Mile Hospitality Stop

Friday, February 11th:
Hank left Dawson City at 11:40 p.m. PST (2:40 p.m. Ontario time) in the company of four other teams. They plan to travel the 150-mile wind swept trail to Eagle together, in the interest of safety and so they can take turns breaking trail.  They have only one "hospitality stop" along the trail, "Forty Mile," which is located approximately 48 miles from Dawson.

Earlier in the day, two mushers returned to Dawson City, after several hours on the trail, saying that the weather and trail conditions were horrendous. They both "scratched" (quit the race), as a result of their brief experience west of Dawson.  Other drama occurred halfway between Dawson and Eagle, when four-time Yukon Quest champion Hans Gatt became stranded in whiteout conditions on American Summit, and was rescued by fellow musher Brent Sass.  Brent gave his lead dog, Silver, credit for safely leading both teams to the Eagle checkpoint. 

Final Five Leave Dawson
Click here
to see a video of the five
teams leaving Dawson together.
Hank leaves fourth.
Radio Report
Click here to hear a radio report
about Hans Gatt's difficulties
on American Summit

At 7:30 p.m. PST (10:30 p.m. Ontario time), Hank's wife Tanya wrote: 

"It's been a whirlwind 30 hours. Hank got a good 11 hours sleep last night and is sleeping for a few hours again now. It snowed hard here all night and a good part of the day and the wind is blowing some, making the trail completely disappear and markers get pushed over.

"Hank and I headed over to the camp this a.m. around 6 to start walking all the dogs to keep them happy & from getting stiff.  In the dark, cars passed us headed to the restart; a team was to leave at 7:30 a.m. As we approached the group we saw men in military uniform with ear pieces  An older man in a long blue coat reached down and patted was our new Governor General!!"

"The next walk, Wade Marrs came off the river saying he had run 9 hours and didn't find 40 mile stop; he said it was so bad he was scratching.  Clint also turned back saying he could see nothing. Tamara refused to leave by herself. So tonight 6 sleds, everyone left, will start out together to break & find the trail to Eagle. They can switch teams breaking trail (a hard job) and stay together for safety. The snow has slowed but the winds have picked up again. It will be a long night. Even Hank is a bit concerned. Anxious GPS watching here we go again..."

Hank's interview in Dawson
Click here to see an interview
with Hank in Dawson City
Dogs eating in Dawson
Click here to see the team eating
at their Dawson City layover camp

Thursday, February 10th:
451 miles, and four checkpoints down!
Hank arrived in Dawson City at 11:31 a.m. PST (2:30 p.m. Ontario time)! 
All mushers must layover in Dawson City for 36 hours, before continuing the race.

The authors of the Yukon Quest Official Facebook page had the following to say about Hank's arrival at the Dawson City checkpoint: 

"Hank Debruin arrived at 11:31 a.m. with 11 dogs. Hank runs the popular Siberian team. They looked like they had a good run. Hank joked with the check-in volunteer and the dogs wagged their tails to the crowds."

At 5:00 p.m. PST (8:00 p.m. Ontario time) Hank's wife Tanya wrote:  

"Just got Hank back to the hotel after looking after the dogs, feeding them, the vet check & getting them all tucked in. They all look great, just a few tender wrists. Everyone wolfed down their meal and happily curled up in the 4 bales of straw in their tent. Ward has his stove going full blast and his tent is cozy too. Hank is enjoying a long hot shower and a burger, fries & onion rings await him before sleep."

ll dropped dogs are doing well. Blitz's foot is much better and he is back to playing like normal, as is Jed. Andy was the one who got sick and he too is now wolfing down his food and feeling like himself."

Hank's team in Dawson City
Hank's team at the Dawson City checkpoint!

Hank's Team arriving in Dawson
Click here to see a video of Hank's team
arriving in Dawson City

Winterdance Race Team: The Dawson City Dozen!
Click here to download a copy of this graphic

Wednesday, February 9th
352 miles down!
Hank arrived at the remote "Scroggie Creek Dog Drop" at 9:16 a.m. PST (12:16 p.m. Ontario time).  His next checkpoint is Dawson City, at Mile 451! 

At 9:00 p.m. PST (midnight Ontario time), Hank's support team, awaiting his arrival in Dawson City, wrote: "Back from the checkpoint office. Hank left Scroggie with 11 dogs which means they were all in great shape. If he had any concerns at all he would have dropped them rather than risk carrying them for 100 miles in the sled to Dawson. Snowing & warming up here; a balmy -20C tonight :) "

Scroggie Dropped Dogs
The Scroggie Creek Dog Drop "Dropped" dogs in a bush plane
at Scroggie ready to be flown out

Tuesday, February 8th:
282 miles down!
Hank arrived at the "Stepping Stone Hospitality Stop," near Fort Selkirk at 11:50 a.m. PST (2:50 p.m. Ontario time).

At 2 p.m. PST on Wednesday (5 p.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team wrote:  "I could imagine Hank's mouth watering as he was reading those signs. He was debating about stopping in Stepping Stone as it was a bit soon, but clearly the signs enticed him :) "

Approaching Stepping Stone Stepping Stone Hospitality Stop
Stepping Stone Hospitality Stop

Tuesday, February 8th:
250 miles, and three checkpoints down!
Hank arrived in Pelly Crossing on Monday at 10:59 p.m. PST (Tuesday at 2:59 a.m. Ontario time).

At 8 a.m. PST (11:00 a.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team wrote:  "Hank in and out of Pelly. Andy is now with Ward & I; he wasn't feeling good when the team came in. They are now headed to Dawson, a 200 mile run, so the sled was packed to overflowing with straw roped on the top so the dogs have a nice bed out there. Ward & I are headed to Dawson to get things ready and meet him in 2 days. Run safe guys!!!"

Pelly Crossing Checkpoint
Pelly Crossing Checkpoint
Dogs Napping at Pelly Checkpoint
Mike Ellis' Siberians at Pelly Checkpoint

Monday, February 7th
At 9:45 a.m. PST (12:45 p.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team wrote: 

"He's on his way to Pelly, later than planned but all is good except the temp this a.m. is getting awful close to -40 which slows everything down from booting to packing trying to keeping hands warm. He also took time to repack his sled taking out the extra gear that he doesn't need with 2 less dogs. 4 teams are still here to go out behind him." 

"One vet commented how beautiful the team looked leaving as they dropped down onto the Yukon River with the sky glowing pink, tails all up & howling to go, even Lily. Much of his running today will be on the Yukon River and the ice is very rough in spots, what they call jumble ice. Watch for him to stop for 2-4 hours about 35 miles into the run just before McCabe Dog Drop and be in Pelly around 10 p.m."

The Team
This photo was posted on the Official Yukon Quest Facebook
page today. Here is the photographer's caption:
"Awesome Dog Power... look in their eyes and you will see
the spirit of the Yukon Quest. This is Hank DeBruin's team
blasting down the starting chute in Whitehorse."

Monday, February 7th:
177 miles, and two checkpoints down!
Hank arrived in Carmacks at 12:31 a.m. PST (3:31 a.m. Ontario time).

Carmacks Community Hall
Carmacks checkpoint
Denis Trembly arriving in Carmacks
Denis Trembly's team arriving in Carmacks

At 5:00 a.m. PST (8:00 a.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team wrote:  "Hank rolled in around 12:30 am, clear cold night but hardly any northern lights. Locals say last nights display was the best in years. Hank looked after the team, had a delicious home cooked meal & headed for 1.5 hour sleep in the gym. He has a wakeup call set for 5am & plans to be on the trail for 6 a.m. Jed has joined his brother Blitz on the truck with sore legs. Everyone else is fine and happy."


Sunday, February 6th:
At 10:40 a.m. PST (1:40 p.m. Ontario time) Hank's support team wrote:  "Hank is off to Carmacks. Unfortunately Blitz is not. There is debate about what is wrong with his foot, but he definitely has a problem. Hank thinks he sprained it on a rough section on the river, the vets think it may be still from the moose [encounter on Christmas eve], but either way he isn't happy we had to carry him to the truck..."


Sunday, February 6th:
100 miles, and one checkpoint down!
Hank arrived in Braeburn at 3:13 a.m. PST (6:13 a.m. Ontario time). 
All mushers must layover for 4 hours in Braeburn. 
Time is also added in Braeburn, to compensate for the staggered race start.

At 3:45 a.m. PST (6:45 a.m. Ontario time), Hank's support team wrote:  "Hank and team pulled into Braeburn about 30 minutes ago underneath a ribbon of northern lights arched over the sky like a rainbow. He and all dogs are fine, much colder than it was supposed to be, sitting around -30 or colder... When he stopped to sign in dogs were screaming like they were going out not coming in!" 

Mike Ellis's Siberians
Braeburn Checkpoint
Amazing Northern Lights at Braeburn
Northern lights at Braeburn checkpoint!

Saturday, February 5
Hank and the Winterdance Team are OFF! 
They blasted over the start line at 11:54 a.m. PST  (2:54 p.m. Ontario time)

Hank blasting out of the starting gate! Winterdance Race Start
 Hank and the Winterdance team
starting the race today in Whitehorse!
 A second view of the Winterdance team
starting the 2011 Yukon Quest

Yukon Quest YouTube Feed
Click here to see a video of Hank's team
starting the race! (1:37 into the video)

The Team on Feb 5th, 2011
Hank started the race with these 14 dogs:  Andy, Aster, Blitz, Charlie, Gem,
Hosta, Jay, Jed, Jester, Lily, Maverick, Scully, Strider and Zeus.

Saturday, February 5
The Yukon Quest 1,000-mile International Sled Dog Race begins!!  Listen to the start LIVE on The Rush radio station in Whitehorse:  at 2 p.m. EST.  Hank DeBruin and the Winterdance Race Team will be 19th out of the gate.

GO, Hank, GO!
Hank is carrying a laminated copy of
this class picture with him in the sled!

Friday, February 4:
Today our class watched the documentary Yukon Quest: Spirit of the North, which follows several mushers on the 2002 Yukon Quest. 

Quest Documentar
Click here to view the video for free

Tuesday, February 1
The Winterdance Race Team completes a marathon five-day drive from Haliburton, Ontario to Whitehorse, Yukon.  They will spend the next three days training in the Annie Lake area, south of Whitehorse.

Saturday, January 22

The team's food and gear bags arrive in Whitehorse, ready to be distributed to checkpoints along the Yukon Quest Trail!

Sunday, January 16 - Wednesday, January 19

The Winterdance Race Team is in Michigan, running the Seney 300 Sled Dog Race in preparation for the Yukon Quest.  The team looks strong, running 50 miles in six hours and then resting for six hours, around the clock.


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