ANCHORAGE, Alaska — After days of heating up meals in boiling water used to make gravy for the dogs and snacking on energy bars or chunks of meat, the first musher to reach the village of Anvik along the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is in for a treat.
The Millennium Alaskan Hotel Anchorage will fly its chef 350 miles to this remote Alaska village of 82 people to whip up a seven-course meal for the first musher to get to the first checkpoint along the 1,800-mile long Yukon River.
Executive Chef Bobby Sidro will have to overcome his fear of small planes to make the journey to this Athabascan subsistence village, where locals grow their own vegetables, fish for salmon, and hunt moose and black bear for meat. There’s no restaurant in town.
“I got to use mostly a portable stove with a little propane (tank) because I think there’s nothing there," said Sidro, a 42-year-old native of the Philippines.
He was scheduled to fly to Anvik on Thursday.
Four-time champion Martin Buser took the race lead when he was the first musher to leave the checkpoint in the ghost town of Iditarod at 2 p.m. Thursday. He’s already taken his 24-hour mandatory layover.
Three other mushers are in Iditarod, apparently taking their 24-hour rest periods: Lance Mackey, Sonny Lindner and Jeff King.
Mackey and King have also won the race four times.
Iditarod officials said a winter storm already was causing wind gusts and drifting snow along the trail for the next segment, a 55-mile stretch from Iditarod to Shageluk.
The winner is expected to arrive in the old gold town of Nome, on the state’s western coast, early next week.