The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race runs through some of the most remote parts of Alaska only accessible by airplane. Thanks to sponsor Alaska Air Transit, support for the race is much easier.
Based in Anchorage and owned by Dan and Josie Owen, AAT began service to McGrath, an Iditarod transportation hub, in 2012. This year the Iditarod Trail Committee is enjoying the sponsorship of Alaska Air Transit to move the race along the trail. In the past, they have helped Iditarod mushers, so having a long time connection with the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, it was an easy decision to add it to their operations.
People find Alaska Air Transit accommodating and friendly. They have chill and freeze facilities for freight and are good for transporting pets.
As sponsors of the Iditarod, AAT is transporting people and dogs out along the trail and back.
In McGrath, Jennifer Vanderpool is the owner/operator of the McGrath hotel and McGrath Turnaround Services for which Alaska Air Transit is a carrier. When asked what they think about this partnership with the Iditarod, Jennifer said, “It’s mostly been a whole lot of fun.”
Alaska Air Transit has regular flights to McGrath 4 times a week. On 2 of those days they are taking mail from McGrath to the neighboring villages of Nikolai, Takotna, and Tatalina Air Base radar site. But during the race, at times they are flying 4 times or more a day! Talk about ramping up service.
Jennifer adds that besides bringing in revenue for the infrastructure of the village, it’s rewarding just to be part of the greater Iditarod family. And Iditarod is truly part of her family. Her father, Ernie Baumgartner, was an Iditarod musher himself, placing 3rd in 1980.