News during the race

During the race I will write regular updates in this „News“ section. The frequency of news will not be consistent as we move north. More places now do have internet access. However, it's not like back home. As it gets more remote it may sometimes take a bit longer to get the information online. 

Also, we have the results table on the top right which by Thursday will be updated with this year’s participants. There you will see the in and out times of all athletes for all the checkpoints. Last but not least, we will have a link to Trackleaders.com. By clicking on their logo you will be forwarded to the part of their website which features the current position of all athletes carrying a SPOT. This link will be connected with the Trackleaders.com logo on the right side near the top of our website. It’s not there yet but will by the time we start.

Please note that due to technical reasons or wrong usage a SPOT does not work. So, everybody back home please do not worry if a SPOT signal has not moved anymore for a long time or is not sending. We will check on it and try to solve whatever the problem may be..  

Talking about SPOT ... we were informed by Trackleaders.com that the units possibly are late. So, we may have to hand these out on start day. Therefore, there is a chance that at 10:30 on January 30th you will not see any signals, yet. Just in case you are wondering.

Reaching the participants during the race

We do not have an email service that allows friends and family to contact athletes during the event. This is mainly due to the fact that we are not a stage race and that once our field of athletes is spread out it would be impossible to deliver the emails in time. However, if you have any urgent information or emergencies, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will then get this to the participant as soon as possible.

Calling and emailing back home

Braeburn Lodge has got a public phone. If you get a phone card in Whitehorse you can make inexpensive calls to your family. Other places with such public phones are Carmacks and Pelly Crossing. Email access may be possible in Carmacks.

Timing for YAU training course changes

The YAU training course on January 28th will already start at 11:30 in the morning (NOT as originally planned at 13:30). At 12:30 we will get sandwiches served. That should get us through lunch time without getting hungry. The indoor part will then be over around 14:00. But I (Robert) will be there as well to help Shelley and Diane and I can stay longer as well. In any case it will give all participants plenty of time to prepare for the outdoor part which will start in front of the Coast High Country Inn Hotel at 18:00. No change re. timing there.

Update on trail conditions

I do not have feedback from the Canadian Rangers after last weekends trail breaking effort. But Gary talked to some people and he has been out on the trails himself quite a bit. Part of the trail will be in good shape but I still have to say that the chances of bad overflow are very high. Where possible the rangers and our crew will make detours. With a bit of luck it will also get colder again and some of the overflow will freeze. It's the first 20 km that seem to be the worst. As after that, in the Takhini area, temperatures usually already are quite a bit colder than in Whitehorse.

I will update you as the news come in and the trail briefing will have the final report on trail conditions.

Last minute things

Every year for some athletes the last couple of days before the race are more stressful than they should be. So, here is a list of things that will hopefully help avoid that:  

  • Please keep in mind that I will need the originals of all forms out of the Application & Waiver. If you have not sent these forms to Garmisch, take them along with you to Whitehorse. Especially the Medical Certificate is important as you need a doctor to fill it in. And it will be difficult to get this done last minute in Whitehorse. Not to mention the cost. Have copies of all forms with you just in case.
  • As you know we check all sleeping bags. Every now and then we are shown sleeping bags that are clearly not good enough anymore. Generally this means the loft of the down is gone – either due to the age of the bag and/or wrongs storage. After all the money spent it is of course horrible to be told such a short time before the start that you need to go and get a new sleeping bag. I realize it is a big expenditure. However, I have no way around it. It’s your safety and life. Therefore, please be honest to yourself. Check your bag before you pack it. If you are not sure see if you find somebody who may give you qualified feedback
  • Make sure you know how to operate your stove. It is another item we will check and more importantly we will check if you can light it. Test it at home or after your arrival in the Yukon. Just be sure that the gear check is not the first time you try out your stove.
  • The way the weather is at the moment and some of the forecasts, we may be in for a very soft trail. There are places in town where you can rent snowshoes, e.g. Up North. However, the amount of rental gear is limited. And if half of you plan to rent snow shoes it won’t work. There also are places that sell snow shoes, e.g. Coast Mountain Sports. But the easiest is if you take some with you – your own or maybe friends/family can help you out.
  • All of you renting a SPOT, please don’t forget to buy Energizer Lithium batteries. Normal batteries will not last long enough. And if your SPOT does not work anymore because of empty batteries, your safety net is greatly reduced, not to mention us, your friends and family getting worried.

Training Course

We may have to change the timing for the indoor part of the training course. It will be the same day but possibly earlier. I will know within the next couple of days. Please check this news section again for any updates on this.

Trail Conditions

There is a good chance of more snow this week. Temperatures are literally hot at the moment. So, it becomes more likely that we will have significant amounts of overflow and also a soft trail. The Canadian Rangers will do a lot of trail breaking from Friday to Monday. After that I will know a bit more.

Trail with a lot of snow

It is a bit early but at this point one thing is pretty certain. With the high amounts of snow on the trail and the relatively mild weather right now, there are high chances of overflow. More than usual. So all athletes need to be prepared for it. When we know about these areas we will advise. However, overflow can come and go, appear all of a sudden.

Have spare clothes ready. Make sure you can build a wood fire if need be. Gear that can help are SealSkinz waterproof socks and waterproof Neo overboots. I personally have not tried it but even a strong plastic bag over your socks can help. It won't keep your shoes from freezing afterwards, though.

We will hopefully have more trail reports soon and of course also some news at the trail briefing. That is also when we will talk more about what to do in case you run into overflow.

Of course it is also too early to talk about temperatures. Anything is possible. Although I have a feeling we may get a cold year. Simply because right now it's "warm" and it likely won't stay like that. So, all athletes keep an eye out for the Yukon temperatures and be sure you have the right clothing.

More snow also means higher chances of soft trails. Therefore, if you do have snowshoes, please take them along.

After all these warnings, there is good news, too. Plenty of snow means great sceneries and landscape. Winter wonderland is waiting for you. And of course it is easier on the sleds when there is plenty of snow on the ground!

Expedition Food at Ken Lake

Like in past years at Ken Lake Checkpoint (300 miles only) we will serve expedition food there. The choices are:

  • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Beef Chili (or Vegetarian Chili)
  • Lentil Curry
  • Chicken Curry
  • Katmandu Chicken Curry (spicy!!)
  • Lamb Curry
  • Bison Stew
  • Seafood Stew
  • Harira Stew with Lamb (or a Vegetarian Harira Stew)
  • Louisian Red Beans with Chorizo Sausage
  • Shepherd's Pie (or Vegetarian Shepherds Pie)

All athletes please email me your choice by January 5th. If I don't hear from you by then I will pick an option for you ;-)

Video by Vito Robbiani on YAU 300 mile competitors Otti and Filippo

If you click on this link you will get straight to a great video on YAU 300 mile competitors Ottmar Flepp and Filippo Genucchi from Switzerland. Filippo won the 300 miles in 2012 and Otti won this year. However, in 2013 Filippo had a serious problem with a frozen toe that made him scratch at Pelly Crossing. The language of the video is Italian but it gives some great impressions from the race. It also teaches the lesson that even the most experienced athlete can run into a problem. So, always try to be as prepared as possible!

David Berridge's book "Fartleks and Flatulence" is in book stores now

David is a YAU 100, 300 and 430 mile finisher. In his book he writes about his experience in these three races and also many other interesting ultras. For more information please check out his website: www.daveberridge.co.uk

Hillsound becomes YAU sponsor

The harsh conditions of the Yukon Arctic Ultra demand the best in winter traction devices - in particular, a durable and light-weight product that will last the distance. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Hillsound creates a range of high-quality winter traction devices and is proud to be a sponsor of the YAU in 2014. With their help we can rent out great traction devices for an inexpensive rate.

YAU athletes can rent Trail Crampon Ultra for CAD 20 (first come, first serve). If you are interested, please let me know.

For more information on Hillsound products, visit our website at www.hillsound.com.

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  • 01 October 2017
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    Fall is here and temperatures are getting colder. This usually means I get asked more and more questions about the upcoming MYAU, e.g. re. timings, flight bookings, accommodation, etc. Therefore, I wa...

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