Middle-of-the-pack Yukon Quest mushers battled blizzards and slogged through deep, fresh snow Thursday and Friday as they made their way to Dawson City, the midway point of the 1,000-mile race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse. 

Casey Grove | Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Eureka race leader Brent Sass and his team had 36 hours to eat and catch up on sleep at the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike rivers, where teams set up at a quiet campground about a half-mile from Dawson’s much busier riverfront.Casey Grove | Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Iditarod boss Stan Hooley said the perilous Dalzell Gorge that battered mushers and their dog teams in 2014 has more snow this year than it has had in the last 15-20 years. Tegan Hanlon
Mushers need straw — lots of straw — for their dogs during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and on Thursday roughly 50 volunteers in Anchorage carried, bagged and stacked about 1,500 bales for the 1,000-mile race to Nome. Tegan Hanlon
Many Southcentral Alaska races have grown in popularity while more and more new races crop up ever year. That leaves stalwart Alaska racers with more options than ever while the bar of entry for new racers or would-be runners feels lower and less scary. Alli Harvey

The Yukon Quest is a 1,000-mile sled dog race starting this year in Fairbanks, Alaska and finishing in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. 

Alaska Dispatch News
Impassable ice jams between the mouth of the Fortymile River and Dawson City necessitated a re-route to the Top of the World Highway for Yukon Quest mushers, resulting in an additional 2,500-foot climb.Marcel Vander Wier | Whitehorse Star
The chief difference is the number of checkpoints — the Quest has nine while the Iditarod has nearly three times that number. John Schandelmeier
Because snow cover is so poor in some places, the traditional 25-mile run will be shortened by five or six miles, organizers said Friday. Beth Bragg
Three years ago Era Alaska, now known as Ravn Alaska, suffered an apparent aircraft stall out of Anchorage. The NTSB has yet to determine why.Colleen Mondor