Public Media for Alaska's Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jason Pavila first on the trail toward Aniak in the 2024 Kuskokwim 300

Dog teams rest in Kalskag Saturday morning (Jan. 27).
Will Peterson
Dog teams rest in Kalskag on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024.

Most Kuskokwim 300 (K300) Sled Dog Race teams are more than 100 miles up the trail after blazing a fast pace overnight from Bethel.

Twenty-year-old Kwethluk musher Jason Pavila was the first competitor in the 2024 Kuskokwim 300 to leave the outbound Kalskag checkpoint early on Jan. 27. Pavila hit the trail to the halfway checkpoint of Aniak with 12 dogs in the harness at 6:46 a.m. after taking one official hour of rest.

It’s Pavila’s third time racing the K300. He scratched last year in Tuluksak after falling on ice and injuring his shoulder. In 2022, Pavila won the K300 Rookie of the Year Award after placing eighth.

While Pavila was the first to leave Kalskag outbound, he wasn’t the first to arrive. Reigning Iditarod champ Ryan Redington was the first to Kalskag at 4:46 a.m. on Jan. 27. Redington took the early lead in this year’s K300, flying through the first checkpoint of the race in Tuluksak and reaching Kalskag, 100 miles into the race, after less than nine hours on the trail. Unofficially, it’s one of the fastest times from the K300 start to Kalskag in race history.

Fr. Alexander Larson was the second musher to arrive at Kalskag, 18 minutes behind Redington. Larson was the second to leave Kalskag, bound for Aniak, with 12 dogs at 7:36 a.m. after taking two hours of rest.

Pete Kaiser was third on the trail to Aniak after taking two hours of rest in Kalskag outbound.

Redington left at 7:52 a.m. after three hours of rest. He dropped two dogs in Kalskag, leaving with 10 dogs in harness.

As of 8:15 a.m. on Jan. 27, all but two of the 23 teams had reached the outbound Kalskag checkpoint.

Temperatures stayed in the low negative 20s on the trail throughout the night, while winds died down significantly, a relief for mushers anticipating the weekend’s forecasted wind chills of as low as 65 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

In this section of the race, mushers will leapfrog over each other as they split their required rest time between the three middle checkpoints of the race.

Mushers are required to take a total of 10 hours of rest during the K300: six of the hours split at their discretion between the outbound Kalskag, Aniak, and inbound Kalskag checkpoints, as well as four hours in Tuluksak before the final 50 miles of the race.

Sage Smiley is KYUK's news director.
Ben Matheson has worked as a reporter for KYUK in Bethel and KNOM in Nome.
Related Content