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. 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.
Read all of the information on this page before filling out a registration form. We require a registration form to be filled out for each individual volunteer. List only one volunteer per form even if the information is the same for multiple volunteers. Volunteers must be at least 18. Please do not fill out more than one application per person.
All volunteers registering online will be entered in our database and receive information about volunteering by signing up as a free insider. That way you will receive updated news that could be of value to you. You can unsubscribe to our newsletter at any time, but you might miss important information that you’ll need to know about as a volunteer.
After registering, you should receive a confirmation notification from Iditarod Insider. If you don’t get that message please check your spam/junk mail. You might need to approve the sender (firstname.lastname@example.org). You are considered an official volunteer after you have been contacted by a coordinator and agreed to the schedule or job assignment. If you are planning to be at the race this year (no matter if you volunteer or not), please book your trip sooner rather than later.
All volunteers are required to pick up race credentials and sign a release form before reporting for assignment. Certain positions may require advance training or experience. The Iditarod recommends that all volunteers become members. There is a mandatory $10.00 registration fee for volunteers who are not ITC members. This ensures that all volunteers have insurance coverage under the 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 registration desk will be opened at the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel from late February. For those volunteering solely in Nome, please check in at the Mini Convention Center (Iditarod HQ’s in Nome). Nome volunteers need not register at the Lakefront registration desk unless also volunteering in Anchorage.
We recommend volunteers and visitors stay at the Lakefront Anchorage as there is a volunteer rate that the Lakefront offers. The ITC does not pay for volunteer transportation or lodging.
The Lakefront Anchorage Hotel is located at 4800 Spenard Road, Anchorage, Alaska. 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 – 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 late Feb. The desk will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Volunteers need to be comfortable with a computer for data input and provide volunteers with assistance in a professional manner. Training for the registration desk will be provided during your first shift.
- Call Center Volunteer – The Call Center serves as a customer service opportunity answering phone calls about the race, the mushers, race updates and other Iditarod related topics along with helping to troubleshoot Insider & website questions. The Call Center begins its activities the Monday before the race start (8 – 5) then continues 24/7 starting Sunday of the restart until the last musher arrives in Nome. There will be up to 4 people per shift manning phones & computers.
All volunteers are provided training, resources and information to assist them with their duties & there will be a shift supervisor on duty at all times to help. Training times will be announced closer to race time.
- Sales — Volunteers help sell Iditarod Merchandise during the race at the Lakefront Hotel, the Start & Restart of the race & also in Nome at the Mini Convention Center(race HQ in Nome). Sales start the weekend before the race until banquet day in Nome.
- Anchorage Network Center – Volunteers in the Anchorage Network Center (ANC) work with Trail Comms personnel to collect, input, and disseminate race information. You must have a working knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (including Outlook and Word). You also need to use clear and succinct telephone skills, especially when calling remote checkpoints. Looking for persons organized, responsible, dependable, detail-oriented, and team players. Accurate data entry is essential in this job. Additional duties include setting up race computers in the hotel and limited troubleshooting. If selected, you will attend a 3-hour training session the week before the race. Work begins on Restart day and continues 24 hours a day until the last team arrives in Nome. Six-hour shifts begin at 6 a.m., noon, 6 p.m., and midnight.
- Race Communications – Race Communication volunteers collaborate to collect race information, such as checkpoint times and dog counts, and make it ready for publication. Volunteers may work in the hotel, at a checkpoint, or in both places.
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.)
- Trail Comms – Trail Comms personnel are experienced Anchorage Network Center veterans. They are available to work in cramped and austere conditions for up to 14 days at a time with limited sleep or other creature comforts. Volunteers are physically fit enough to travel by small plane and perform heavy labor tasks in setting up and running the checkpoint. They are experienced users of Microsoft Office (including Outlook, Word, and Excel) and are organized, responsible team players. Trail Comms volunteers will attend a 3-hour training session the week before the race begins, have a current Iditarod membership, and possess a Dog Handler card.
- Veterinarian Technicians/Assistants – The Iditarod veterinary staff is comprised of volunteer Vet Techs & assistants from around the country. Requirements for participation include a minimum of five years of practice experience in small animal medicine, fluency in English and sufficient health to withstand working in arctic conditions. Previous experience with the sled dog athlete is highly desirable. This includes the tech team that works on pre-race exams and in the checkpoints with returning dogs, returned dogs at the Lakefront, chip readers at the start and restart, the p-team, and veterinarians. Should you be interested in a volunteer job in this area this year or in the future, please fill out the registration form, check return dogs as an option, and indicate in the additional information section your interest and experience. In the event that there are openings in this area now or in future years, we’ll be sure to contact you.
Anchorage Ceremonial Start
- Musher Parking – Saturday morning, 5 – 9 a.m., Assist with Musher Check-in, 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. Additional information and an opportunity to sign up for the Dog Handler Class is provided on the volunteer form when you register. Volunteers must 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.
- Load Truck – date TBD – Storage Facility in Wasilla
- Unload Truck – Set Up on Saturday (most likely late afternoon / evening)
- Set Up Sunday Morning
These areas Involve 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 onto 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.
- Cooks (Sunday) Grill burgers for volunteers
- Staging and Chute – Assisting with staging and working in the chute. Most volunteers in this area have done this in previous years and have been pre-selected by the coordinator. Due to the experience level necessary for this position, only indicate this area on the form if the coordinator has approved you for this job assignment and/or you have worked this area a previous year.
- 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 must 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
If you would like to volunteer in Nome, please make your lodging arrangements well in advance, don’t wait until a coordinator contacts you. Iditarod does not arrange or provide lodging. You can contact the Nome Visitors Center, they may be able to assist you in finding housing.
- 24 Hour Office Help: taking messages, answering phones, keeping track of mushers, and taking care of necessary behind the scenes details.
- Dog lot
- Chute security & crowd control
- Banquet set-up
- Banquet worker
- End of race tear down
- Finish chute set-up (need volunteers there the weekend before the finish)
Other Opportunities at Race Time and During the Year
Check the Calendar of Events for current dates.
- Make Foot Ointment – (Mid Feb) Wasilla HQ
- People Food Drop – (Mid Feb) Airland Transport, Anchorage
- Straw Drop – (Mid Feb) Airland Transport, Anchorage
- Musher Food Drop –(Mid Feb) Airland Transport, Anchorage
- Hauling Food Drop Load Out – (Mid Feb)Willow Airport, Anchorage
- Media Conference – Lakefront
- Banquet Hostess — Dena’ina Center
- Unloading Trailers at ITC HQ – Dates to be announced, generally 2nd week in April
- Office Help – Wasilla, ITC HQ (various times throughout the year)
- Volunteer Picnic – Wasilla, ITC HQ Last Saturday of June
- Jr. Iditarod
- After you have turned in your registration form. You might not be contacted by a coordinator until after the holidays. Watch your spam mail or junk mail in case an email from a coordinator goes to your junk mail instead of reaching you.
- 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 than are needed. Signing up for several different job areas increases our ability to place you in a volunteer position. If you aren’t selected, we hope you sign up again in a future year. Thank you so much for registering and supporting the race.
- If you forgot to add a work area or information to your form, please contact us to have your registration form updated instead of filling out a brand new form. You may also ask a coordinator that has contacted you to help you connect with other coordinators in other areas you are interested in working.
- 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. You will pick up your volunteer hat and name badge here.
- 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. It’s not a job for everyone!
- Please note, you are not permitted to be taking photographs or video while you are on volunteer shifts.
- Due to Copyrights & Media Policy it is strictly prohibited to go live on Social Media at the Start or Restart of the race, no matter if you are volunteering or spectating at the time. Thank you.