2024 IDITAROD RACE FOLLOWING & DAYTRIPS
One of the questions we are often asked is “How can I best see the Iditarod?” Iditarod tour flights are the best way to see this great event. Sheldon Air Service offers full Iditarod race following air support, from the ceremonial start in Anchorage, the race start in Willow to the first checkpoints at Yentna station, Puntilla Lake and Rainy Pass, all the way to Nome.
Why choose Sheldon Air Service to experience the Iditarod dog sled race?
The owners of Sheldon have been intimately involved with the Iditarod for years. Udo has flown with the Iditarod Air Force, a group of approximately 24 pilots who support the race from start to finish since 2012. Tonya worked at most of the checkpoints along the race since 2015 as a veterinarian. Our familiarity with the race, the trail, checkpoints and the mushers, are a great resource for you to have an experience of a lifetime.
Iditarod Willow Restart / Yentna Station flight – Sunday March 3, 2024
Watch the mushers restart at Willow lake. Then fly along the trail and see the dog teams from the air. We will land at Yentna station, the first checkpoint on the race, where you will witness the first teams come through. This trip departs from Talkeetna at 1PM, returning around 8PM. Cost per person $750
Iditarod Puntilla Lake flight – Monday March 4, 2024
Enjoy a day at Puntilla Lake, the third checkpoint in the race, in the foothills of the Alaska range. By this time the race is full on. On the flight over your experienced Iditarod pilot will follow part of the trail to see the dog teams in their element. This trip departs from Talkeetna at 10AM, returning around 5PM. Cost per person $895
Iditarod Exclusive private day flights – Sunday March 3 and Monday March 4, 2024
You have the airplane! Yourself and five of your favorite friends or family spend the whole day along the trail! We will tailor the trip to your desire, fly and land along the trail, watch the teams go by, and explore the Alaska range. Cost $ 9,000 per day + fuel surcharge.
Iditarod Exclusive private race adventure charter – Monday March 4 – March 15
This unique air service is for the adventurous traveler who wants to follow the Iditarod mushers all the way to Nome. This charter trip gives you the opportunity to personally talk to the Iditarod mushers, personally see and experience nearly 1000 miles of the Iditarod Trail across the Last Frontier. As well as visit various Native Alaskan villages and cultures along the way.
The following agenda is suggested; we can customize this together with you.
- March 3 – Restart at Willow, Day trip along the trail and the Yentna Station checkpoint.
- March 4 – Puntilla Lake/Rohn
- March 5 – 7 McGrath. Day trips along the trail and checkpoints in Nikolai, Takotna, Ophir and Cripple
- March 8 – 10 Galena. Day trips along the trail and checkpoints in Ruby, Nulato and Kaltag
- March 11 – 12 Unalakleet. Day trips along the trail and checkpoints in Shaktoolik, Koyuk and Elim
- March 13 Nome. Our plane will return to Talkeetna. You can stay in Nome to see the mushers finish their race.
Cost $ 45,000 + fuel surcharge
Excludes accommodations, commercial flight Nome – Anchorage, winter gear.
Things to note:
- Day trip pricing is based on a minimum of three people. Individuals/pairs can be combined to meet the minimum requirements
- Dress in layers with warm boots, gloves and a hat. You will be spending majority of the day outdoors. The Sheldon team can help you to select the appropriate gear to stay warm on the trail
- Fuel surcharge is based on price difference between fuel at remote airport purchased and price at the Talkeetna airport.
- The Sheldon team can help you with accommodation in Talkeetna, or on the trail.
The running of the Iditarod from Anchorage to Nome, will begin with a ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage, on Saturday March 2nd, 2024. The race begins in earnest with the restart in Willow the following day. From there, the teams of Iditarod mushers will embark on their adventure through 1000 miles of arctic wilderness, two mountain ranges, forbidding weather and intense competition on the way to Nome.
The Iditarod was first run in 1973, but was largely unknown outside Alaska, until 1985; when Libby Riddles made a daring move into a fierce coastal blizzard and became the first woman to win. The following year, 1986, Susan Butcher became the second woman to win the Iditarod. Butcher went on to rack up an enviable record in any sport, becoming the second four-time winner in 1990 and the first musher ever to win four out of five sequential running’s of the epic race. She is commemorated by Alaskans on Susan Butcher Day. Through her accomplishments the race came to national attention in the early ’90’s.
To get a feel for the view from the runners of an Iditarod dog team, have a look at this video by Aliy Zirkle as she and her team descend the notorious Happy River Steps in the Alaska Range.
Iditarod sled dog racing is something that cannot really be conveyed by televised and online coverage. To fully appreciate the Iditarod, one must follow the action in the environment, see the vast distances involved, and observe the mushers rest and refuel at a checkpoint before mushing on into the vastness. And the energy and spirit of sled dogs must be experienced to be believed!
Rainy Pass is one of the early obstacles in the complex course. The Pass is part of the Historic Iditarod Trail, but until 1976 the pass was inaccessible, and the route detoured through Ptarmigan Pass, also known as Hellsgate. From Skwentna, the route follows the Skwentna River into the southern part of the Alaska Range to Finger Lake. The stretch from Finger Lake to Rainy Pass, on Puntilla Lake, is among the most dangerous in the Iditarod, as the teams follow the narrow Happy River Gorge, where the trail balances on the side of a heavily forested incline.
Puntilla Lake Day Trip
The 2024 Puntilla Lake Day trip is scheduled for Monday, March 4th, 2024. By then, early race leaders will have arrived at the Iditarod’s Puntilla Lake checkpoint and the trail will be full of the pack chasing them from Willow.
You will be able to watch a steady stream of Iditarod mushers come into the Puntilla Lake checkpoint. Lunch is available for purchase at Rainy Pass Lodge or you may pack your own. Pack warm gear, sunglasses, a snack, and of course; bring your camera!
After departure from Talkeetna at 11 a.m. we fly you towards Rainy Pass, through the Alaska Range where you will have a great chance to view mushers on the trail and see moose, remote trapper cabins, expansive rivers, frozen lakes and the grandeur of the Alaska Range.
The flight returns to Talkeetna by 3 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Reserve your spot Today!
$895.00 per person
Call our office to reserve your seat as this flight offering is on a space-available basis.
Specialized flights are available from Anchorage. Call for details and pricing.