John Schandelmeier hired as Yukon Quest Alaska Trail Coordinator

The Yukon Quest’s Alaska Board of Directors recently hired John Schandelmeier as the Alaska Trail Coordinator. John will take the lead role in improving the Yukon Quest Trail within Alaska. The Alaska Trail Coordinator will oversee and coordinate the breaking, marking, proofing and sweeping of the Yukon Quest Trail from Fairbanks to the US border, and will be working closely with the long-standing Alaskan trail-breaking volunteers and local communities to help put in the best possible trail for the 2009 Yukon Quest. John has been deeply involved with the Yukon Quest for over twenty years and recently accepted the newly created Alaska Trail Coordinator position in early August. This new position was developed in response to concerns expressed by mushers following the 2008 race, and John’s acceptance of this new role is a huge advantage for the Yukon Quest and our mushers. John has been around the Yukon Quest for more than 20 years running his first Yukon Quest in 1986. Since that time, John has run the Yukon Quest 16 times…and is the only musher who has started more than 10 times and never scratched. He has finished every one of the 16 Yukon Quest races he started! John has finished in the Top Ten 14 out of 16 times, was the Yukon Quest Champion in 1992 and 1996, was awarded the coveted Veterinarians’ Choice Award in 1994 and 1996 and was voted by his fellow mushers to win the Sportsmanship Award in both 1997 and 2003. John’s Yukon Quest record (16 starts – 16 finishes – 14 Top Tens – 2 Championships (1992, 1996) is very impressive by anyone’s standards! Only Dave Dalton (18 starts – 14 finishes – 6 Top Tens) and Frank Turner (24 starts – 18 finishes – 13 Top Tens – 1 Championship) have started more Yukon Quest races than John Schandelmeier, but for consistent performance and a perfect finishing record over many years, John may well be considered the most successful Yukon Quest musher in history. John is also well recognized as an excellent sled dog race organizer having created the Taiga 300 sled dog race, and as one of the best ‘trail men’ in Alaska having put in the Copper Basin 300 trail many times and more recently breaking and marking trail for the Gin Gin 200 sled dog race. The creation of this new position and John’s hiring are good news for the Yukon Quest, “We are very excited to have John working for the Yukon Quest in the role of Alaska Trail Coordinator. His knowledge and expertise with the Yukon Quest and setting sled dog race trails in general will help us address some perennial challenges with our trail and will ensure that we have the best possible, and a well-marked, trail for our mushers and their dogs,” said Tania Simpson, Managing Director of the Yukon Quest in Alaska. The Canadian Rangers break and mark the Yukon Quest Trail within the Yukon Territory, and their service to the Yukon Quest is extremely valuable and deeply appreciated by the organization. Adding the Alaska Trail Coordinator’s role to the Yukon Quest will ensure that the best possible trail is in place in advance of the 2009 race across the 1,000 mile trail. While John’s expertise will focus on the Yukon Quest Trail in Alaska, his help will also be sought to make improvements over the entire 1,000 mile Yukon Quest Trail through to Whitehorse. John is looking forward to his new role with the Yukon Quest, “It is great to see the Alaska Board of Directors and the organization’s commitment to ensuring that a good trail is in place for the 2009 race. I am looking forward to working with the volunteers and local communities of Two Rivers, Central, Circle City and Eagle to incorporate their knowledge and experience to make sure that we put in the best possible trail for the 2009 Yukon Quest.” For more information about the race please visit: www.yukonquest.com

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