The Checklist: Sporting Events
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Where: Anchorage, Alaska
Play along: Alaska is known for rugged individualists—and snow—which is why the world's most grueling race takes place here. Every March the entire population of Anchorage fills the streets to kick off the Iditarod. Actually the race really starts the following day in Wasilla, 42 miles north of town, where the snow is deeper. Eighty or so dog teams set out every two minutes to begin a 1,100-mile journey across the most forbidding terrain imaginable—mountains, rivers, tundra—enduring subzero temperatures, blizzards, and winds that can penetrate even the thickest polar fleece. And that's about the last time you'll see the dog teams unless you're a bush pilot—or you've booked a room at Winterlake Lodge, 200 miles outside of Anchorage and inaccessible by road. It sits on the Iditarod Trail (in fact, one of the checkpoints is on the property), and co-owner and chef Kirsten Dixon is probably the most famous cook in Alaska. Pack some of her smoked wild salmon and watch the dogs mush by.
How to score tickets: Another free one—except for the price of really good cold-weather gear.
When: Every March.
For more information: www.iditarod.com
Four-night Iditarod packages start from $3,120 per person, including transportation by bush plane and meals.