This year's Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race began February 6, 2016 on the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks, Alaska. The grueling trail covers 1,000 miles between Fairbanks, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, alternating direction every year. While the Iditarod sled dog race is better known globally and brands itself the "Last Great Race", many mushers and locals insist that the Yukon Quest is a better indication of a musher's skill and mettle. The distances between Yukon Quest checkpoints are longer, the terrain is rougher and the trails are lonelier. These photos are from the Yukon Quest 1000 starting line and the first checkpoint at Two Rivers, mile 72 of the race.