The Iditarod Trail Committee, Inc. is a 501 C (3) organization supported by sponsors, members and volunteers. Your contribution to “The Last Great Race on Earth” is vital to the sustainability of the organization. If you are a volunteer and not an ITC member, we would encourage you to become one. Your membership keeps the heritage and tradition of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race alive for future generations to enjoy. Several volunteer positions are reserved for ITC members. Become a member.
We will begin taking registrations from volunteers wishing to help with 2016 Iditarod starting in October. Volunteers will most likely start hearing from coordinators in January 2016. If you would like to volunteer in Nome, please make your lodging arrangements well in advance, don’t wait until a coordinator contacts you.
Registration for volunteers begins in the fall of 2015: The Registration Form for the Start (Anchorage), Restart (Willow), Race, and Year Round Volunteering will be found here at that time.
*Registration for volunteers begins in the fall of 2015: The Registration Form for Nome/Finish will be found here at that time.
After registration, there is often a wait time for response from most coordinators until after the first of the year. Do not expect to hear back from a coordinator until early January or even the end of January, sometimes later. If you have questions about your registration form or any other questions, contact Diane Johnson, 605. 290 3423 or send an email to email@example.com
All volunteers are required to pick up Race Credentials and sign a release form (PDF 44k) before checking in with individual coordinators for assignments. Preference for several volunteer assignments are reserved for ITC Members. Consider joining if you are not a member. There is a mandatory $10.00 registration fee for volunteers who are not ITC members. (*Waived for current Iditarod Trail committee members, see membership information at this link.) This ensures that all volunteers have coverage under the insurance plan, described below.
- The ITC secondary accident insurance plan provides certain benefits, including medical expense coverage, in the event that an individual is injured while performing volunteer duties/responsibilities on behalf of the race. In the event of an incident resulting in injury, immediately report to your coordinator to fill out an incident report. This must be done within 24 hours of the incident in order to be submitted to our insurance company.
The volunteer desk will be opened at the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel from Monday, February 22nd – Wednesday, March 9th, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM. For those volunteering only in Nome, for your convenience, a volunteer desk will be set up in the Mini Convention Center beginning March 9th. Nome volunteers need not register at the Millennium registration desk.
The Lakefront Anchorage, A Millennium Hotel, is the Race Headquarters during the race. We recommend volunteers and visitors stay at the Lakefront Anchorage. (Previously the Millennium)
Information for those applying for volunteer positions with the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
Thank you for your interest to become an Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Volunteer! There are a variety of volunteer opportunities involved with the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. After you have read this information, please click on the volunteer form, check ‘agree’, and learn more. Fill out the form and submit it. Be sure to include your contact information on the form.
It’s important that you take the time to decide what volunteer activities you want to be involved with before filling out your volunteer forms. Read the information on this page to help you make your decisions. When you’ve made your choice(s), click on the appropriate volunteer form for Anchorage/Wasilla/Willow – (Start/Restart/Year Round) or Nome. Fill out the form and click submit! It’s that easy! (See links below to register.) When you review the volunteer forms, you’ll note that there is contact information provided for some areas but it is not necessary for you to contact the coordinator unless you have a question that can’t be answered on this page or on the form. Coordinators will contact you. If you contact coordinators with questions, do not assume you have registered. It is essential that you fill out the application regardless of any commitment by a coordinator in order for you to volunteer for the race and for the ITC to have your credentials prepared when you arrive to finalize registion. You are not considered an official volunteer unless the coordinator has contacted you.
After your volunteer form is submitted, your information on the form is sent to the volunteer coordinators. Please be patient. Most of our volunteer coordinators are volunteers as well. They begin contacting volunteers in January and conclude in mid to the end of February. Those selected to work will be contacted. Please remember that we often get more volunteers than jobs available and some areas fill quickly. Email contact for many of the coordinators can be found on the form you filled out to register for volunteer jobs. If you’ve already applied for a position and have not heard from the coordinator or you have a question and wish to contact someone, please go back to the online form and locate the coordinator’s contact information. In advance, thanks for registering to volunteer. The volunteers are the backbone to this race. We greatly appreciate your registering to volunteer. Apologies to those of you who may not get selected to volunteer this year.
Important Note: Any volunteer working on the trail that may fly with the Iditarod Air Force, must be a member of the Iditarod Trail Committee. Click here to view membership levels and to join.
Date: Thursday Evening, March 3, 2016
Time: Doors open at 5:00
Where: Dena’ina Center, 600 West 7th, Downtown Anchorage
Tickets: Click here: Banquet Tickets
Information regarding housing needs and offerings for people coming to the race:
- The ITC cannot pay for volunteer transportation or lodging. Please note the above information for our lodging suggestions.
Ceremonial Start in Anchorage, Restart in Fairbanks, and the Trail — Volunteer Opportunities
Race Headquarters at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel (2/29 — 3/22)
The ITC’s Official Race Headquarters during the majority of the race is the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel (formally the Millennium), located at 4800 Spenard Road, Anchorage, Alaska. The Lakefront is the hub of all Iditarod activity before teams begin arriving in Nome. When you click on the volunteer form, you’ll find a number of volunteer activities that take place at the Lakefront. You may want to consider volunteering for more than one activity. We ask that you number your choices in order of preference
Volunteer Registration Desk (2/22 — 3/9)
As volunteers come into the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel for the first time, they need to check in at the Volunteer Registration Desk to confirm their volunteer information and receive their credentials. A team of three people per shift, (4 hour shifts) will be needed beginning Monday Feb.22nd through March 9th. The desk will be open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm daily. Volunteers need to be comfortable with a computer for data input and provide volunteers with assistance in a professional manner. Our volunteers are essential to staging the Iditarod and we’re grateful for each volunteer! Training for the registration desk will be provided during the first shift.
Call Center Volunteer (2/29 — 3/22)
Our call center serves as a customer service opportunity as well as an opportunity to help race fans with questions that they may have about the race. The Call Center begins its activity during business hours the week before the race. On the first Saturday in March, volunteer activity ramps up considerably with as many as seven volunteers manning telephones and computers per shift around the clock. This activity lasts for two weeks or a little longer. Along with helping trouble shoot Insider and website questions, volunteers answer questions about the race, the mushers, and other Iditarod related topics. Our call center will assist race fans and customers with a variety of questions, from technical assistance to general information.
Computers are located at each work station so volunteers have instant access to the Internet to assist race fans with customer service, technical assistance, or provide other requested information. All volunteers are provided with training, resources, and information to assist them in their job.
Shifts are usually four hours each.
Trainings for volunteers are February 28th at 6 p.m. and March 5th at 10 a.m. Please plan to attend one of these training sessions. Your time spent training will help you function in a confident and business-like manner.
Merchandise Sales Volunteer (2/13 — 3/20)
Merchandise sales is a very important part of the Iditarod’s fundraising activities. During the race, sales at the Wasilla Headquarters, and through mail order continue as they do year round. Additionally, the ITC sets up a retail sales outlet at the Lakefront Anchorage (formally the Millennium) and in Nome, Alaska at the Mini Convention Center. Merchandise sales at the Lakefront Anchorage generally open in early February and closes March 20, the day of the banquet in Nome. The Lakefront Anchorage sets up a great area for Iditarod’s merchandise sales in the lobby. If you enjoy visiting with people from all over the world, this could be a great volunteer opportunity. During the busiest times, there may be a need for as many as five or six volunteers during a shift. Minimal training in advance or on first shift may be required. Additional help may be needed for setup and shift coverage during February, before the race week begins.
Dropped Dog Volunteer (3/7 — 3/22)
Dropped dogs is the term used to describe the canine athletes who have been part of a musher’s team during the race and have been dropped out of the race at one of the checkpoints for one reason or another. These athletes are transported back to Anchorage. They arrive in Anchorage at either Ted Steven’s International Airport or on Lake Hood just behind the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel. Dog Drop volunteers assist in helping the dogs de-plane and the provide care for them until either they are picked up by their musher’s designated handler or are taken out to Hiland Mountain Correctional Center where they are cared for by inmates until they are picked up by handlers. The Dog Drop volunteers are involved in caring for the dogs as well as contacting handlers to schedule pickups and maintaining records of each canine athlete in their care.
Race Communications (Comms)
Race Headquarters Communications (HQ Comms) Dates 3/5- 3/22
HQ Comms is at the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel in Anchorage. It operates in 6-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, starting before the Ceremonial Start and finishing a few days after the last musher gets to Nome. Each 6 hour shift is staffed by 2-3 volunteers. HQ Comms works to monitor and disseminate communications between the checkpoints and HQ, as well as keeping track of personnel movement along the trail and providing support to other departments.
There are other miscellaneous Comms related jobs both pre- and post- race. These include several organizational tasks, moving furniture and sorting bins.
HQ Comms volunteers must be at least 18 years old, dependable, organized, have familiarity with Windows, Microsoft Office (Word & Excel) and Outlook, and be a team player. Volunteers must attend a Comms training session prior to the race.
Trail Communications (Trail Comms) Dates determined by assignment.
Trail Comms volunteers are assigned to checkpoints where conditions may be less than ideal: sleeping on the floor, no running water (no showers) and some demanding physical activity, all with minimal sleep. Assignments last from 4-14 days.
Trail Comms volunteers need to have the same skill set as HQ Comms. Teamwork is essential. Prerequisites are experience in both HQ Comms and Race Stats and must hold an ITC dog handler card and be an ITC member. Volunteers must also attend a Comms training session prior to the race.
Most Trail Comms positions are filled by returning Comms volunteers.
Race Stats Volunteer (3/6 — 3/22)
A tremendous amount of data is constantly coming in from the trail via email. Reports about each team, when they arrive at each checkpoint, when they leave, and how many dogs are all a part of the information flow that needs to be input and posted on www.iditarod.com. Race Stats volunteers must have computer experience and be at least 18 yrs. old. They must be dependable, detail oriented, have good typing skills and be able to compose and send emails using Microsoft Outlook. Accurate data entry is essential in this job.
This department is located at the Millennium Hotel with Race Comms. Work begins on Restart day and continues 24 hours a day, until the last team arrives in Nome. Six hour shifts begin at 6a.m., 12 p.m., 6 p.m. and 12 midnight. Two volunteers are needed per shift. Stats volunteers are required to attend one of the Comms training sessions prior to the race.
Trail positions for volunteers are based mainly on skill sets and experience. Please take a minute and read the information on the registration form. Trail positions require a high demand for physical activity. If you would like to apply for a trail position, please check that box and we’ll talk to you about it, but know that most trail positions are filled with returning volunteers. (IF you are registering for COMMS you do not need to check Trail Position on your registration form.)
*PLEASE NOTE: You must be a member of the Iditarod Trail Committee to be a volunteer on the trail. (Trail Comms, Trail Positions, etc.)
Veterinarian Clerical Assistants THIS AREA is filled in advanced by trained volunteers for the most part. This is the area volunteers on the pee team and veterinarians sign up.
Race Start Day: Saturday, 3/5
- Musher Parking – Early Saturday Morning, am to approx 10 am, Provide early morning security and assist Mushers in locating their staging/parking place.
- Trail Guard – Public Relations/Safety – Positions available from 4th Ave to BLM Headquarters. Duties include keeping trail clear of pedestrians; adding snow back to the trail at roadway/trail crossings.
- Security – Public Relations/Safety, Duties include keeping public separate from race participants, staffing public crossings of staging areas and keeping the trail open within the staging area.
- VIP Liaisons – Public Relations, Assist Idita-Riders and family members in locating their mushers. Provide escort to Public Officials and Honored Guests.
- IditaRider Volunteers to assist with a wide variety of areas surrounding this program.
- Dog Handlers – Special training & certificate required. Volunteers should be physically fit! Volunteers will assist mushers from parking space to Starting Line on 4th Ave.
- Assist wherever needed.
- End of Anchorage Start at the BLM – Volunteers are needed in multiple positions: Dog Handlers, Security, Trail Guard and VIP Liaison. Volunteers should be familiar with Anchorage and have transportation.
ReStart Day: Sunday, 3/6
- Load Truck –
- Unload Truck – Day and date to be determined.
Involves loading all equipment and fencing at the storage facility and transporting it by truck to Willow and unloading it. This takes places on Saturday. The equipment is then reloaded on to the truck on Sunday evening after the event and transported back to Wasilla, where it will be unloaded and returned to storage Monday morning.
- Early Morning Setup/Musher Parking – Provide early morning security and assist Mushers in locating their staging/parking place. Includes assembly of fencing to secure staging and chute areas as well and set up of other equipment required at the event. These activities may occur on the day before or the early morning of the Start and/or Restart.
- Trail Guard – A trail guard is an individual that would be placed at a street or road crossing to control vehicle as well as pedestrian traffic. These locations typically are somewhat further away from the re-start line. The goal being to ensure the safety of both dog teams as well as spectators. Requirements may include the ability to walk through deep snow or lift and carry heavy objects or add snow back to the trail at crossings.
- Security – Public Relations/Safety -Typically positioned at public crossings in and around the chute and staging area. Their goal is to keep the public separated from the competitors, controlling the flow of spectators passing through those crossings, maintaining the integrity of fencing, and keeping the trail cleared for the competitors.
- Traffic Control/Parking
- Dog Handlers – Volunteers should be physically fit and will assist mushers from parking space to Starting Line. Dog handler’s card is required. Additional information and an opportunity to sign up for the Dog Handler Class is provided on the volunteer form when you register.
- Tear Down – Evening
Nome — Volunteer Opportunities – 3/15 – 3/21
*Attention Volunteers: IF you are going to register to work in Nome, make your reservations for lodging well in advanced. Do not wait to be contacted about a volunteer position that you have sign up to help with so you have a place to stay in Nome. We do not provide lodging for you.
- 24 Hour Office Help: People to work around the clock in the office, taking messages, answering phones, keeping track of mushers, and taking care of necessary behind the scenes details.
- Sales: Assisting with sales at the ‘Nome Iditarod Store’.
- Dog Lot
- Chute Security & Crowd Control
- Banquet Sales
- Banquet Set-up
- Banquet Worker
- End of Race Tear Down
- Postmark Commemorative Mail
- Finish Chute Set-up (need volunteers there the weekend before the finish)
Other Opportunities at Race Time and Throughout the Year
- Make Foot Ointment – Wasilla HQ (January date to be determined)
- People Food Drop – Airland Transport, Anchorage (Friday, 2/19)
- Straw Drop – Airland Transport, Anchorage (Thursday, 2/11)
- Musher Food Drop – Airland Transport, Anchorage (Wednesday, 2/17, Thursday, 2/18)
- Hauling Food Drop Load Out – Willow Airport, Anchorage (Saturday, 2/20
- Media Conference – Millennium (Wednesday, 3/2)
- Banquet Hostess — Dena’ina Center (Thursday, 3/3)
- Office Help – Wasilla, ITC HQ (various times throughout the year)
- Ballot Counting – Wasilla (location TBD), 7 AM, (Saturday, 6/25)
- Help at Volunteer Picnic – Wasilla, ITC HQ (Friday, 6/26, Saturday, 6/25)
- Unloading Trailers at ITC HQ – Dates to be announced, generally 2nd week in April
*Please note, dates subject to change. Please check back and refer to the ITC Calendar for additional updates.
* After you have turned in your registration form, It may be several weeks before you are contacted by a coordinator. Watch your spam mail or junk mail in case an email from a coordinator goes to your junk mail instead of reaching you. You might not be contacted by a coordinator until after the holidays.
* You become a volunteer for a specific job after a coordinator has contacted you and you have accepted the job assignment. We are grateful for the large number of individuals who register to volunteer each year. We sometimes get more volunteers for certain areas than needed. Signing up for several different job areas increases our ability to place you in a volunteer position. If you aren’t selected, thanks so much for registering and supporting the race. We hope you sign up again in a future year.
*If you forgot to add a work area or information to your form, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and have your registration form updated instead of filling out a brand new form.
*The first place to check in when you arrive at the Lakefront Anchorage is our Welcome Center at the Registration Desk where you will sign your release form, pay ITC membership fee if necessary, pay your insurance fee if you are not a member, pick up your volunteer hat and name badge.
* You must be 18 or older to volunteer
* Sign up for dog handling only if you can easily and safely run 4 city blocks in powdery snow while holding on to a dog in the team. You must be able to keep pace with an energetic and excited dog team. This job is not easy.
*Questions? Contact email@example.com (Volunteer Coordinator)