Thank you to all of the volunteers. This race would be impossible without you.
Online Applications End on Februrary 27th. If you missed the window for online applications, please apply in person – Room 1004 at The Lakefront Anchorage.
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. In most cases volunteers must be at least 18. Please do not fill out more than one application per person.
All volunteers registering online will be entered into our database and receive information about volunteering by signing up as a free insider. This 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 will need to know about as a volunteer.
After registering, you should receive a confirmation notification from Iditarod. If you don’t get that message please check your spam/junk mail. You might need to approve the sender (email@example.com). 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 before reporting for their 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. If you are a member you are automatically covered and do not need to pay the $10 fee. Be sure to fill out your application, sign your release form & pay the $10 fee online before collecting your credentials at the Registration Center at LakeFront Hotel.
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 Center will be opened at the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel from late February until the beginning of the week after the race start. After the closure of the registration Center you will pick up your credentials in the Iditarod Office room 1003. 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. But you will need to fill out your registration for Nome, sign your release and pay your fee online.
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 opportunities that take place at the Lakefront. You may want to consider volunteering for more than one activity
- Volunteer Registration Center – As volunteers come into the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel for the first time, they need to check in at the Volunteer Registration Center room 1004 to confirm their volunteer information and receive their credentials. A team up to five people per shift, (4 hour shifts) will be needed beginning late Feb. Registration will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until the Tuesday after the restart of the race. Volunteers need to be comfortable with a computer Word and Excel for data input and be able to provide volunteers and the public with assistance in a patient, professional manner. This can be a fast paced area as multiple groups arrive to register at the same time. Training for the registration center will be provided during your first shift.
- Call Center Volunteer – The Call Center serves as a customer service opportunity answering phone calls from around the world about the race, the mushers, race updates and other Iditarod related topics.
- The Call Center begins its activities the Monday before the race start from 8 to 5 then continues 6am – 12pm starting Sunday of the restart until the last musher arrives in Nome. There will be up to 4 people per shift manning phones and 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.
- Sales — Volunteers help sell Iditarod Merchandise during the race at the Lakefront Hotel, the banquet, the Start & Restart of the race and in Nome at the Mini Convention Center(race HQ in Nome). Sales start the weekend before the race until banquet day in Nome. This entails assisting people with purchases and questions, restocking inventory and refreshing displays.
- Media Conference – Helping sign in and give out information packets to the media as they arrive for the meeting.
- Anchorage Network Center (ANC) ANC(COMMS) runs 6-hr shifts from Restart until the Red Lantern musher arrives in Nome. There are between 2 and 4 people per shift. They monitor Communication to and from all the checkpoints and relay the information as required. They ensure the personnel reports are complete, the musher traffic is current, the return dog details are recorded and appropriate people are contacted as required. ANC also publishes race information to the website. There will be a training session for ANC Comms volunteers before the race to familiarize themselves with the software and requirements of the job. This training is mandatory.
- Ideal Comms volunteers have basic computer skills with an emphasis on Google Suite programs or Microsoft Office programs. They are able to communicate well via telephone or satellite phone to and from the trail. All are detail-oriented and can react quickly to changing needs as they arise, either as a more routine data entry or handling minor emergencies on the trail. Optimal ANC volunteers are competent data entry workers, teachers or other computer based professionals.
- Tech Team – Volunteers will prepare, install and monitor hotel race computers, printers, internet, ready trail computers before the race begins and then act as a on-call help throughout the race for both hotel & trail teams. Volunteers will work in person or over the phone. Other duties include assigning cell phones and SIM cards, setting up the satellite phones and hand held radios for use on the trail. The ideal volunteers have experience with telecom and computer setup. Be patient assisting other volunteers with varying amounts of tech experience
- Returned Dog Handlers/Office Crew – Volunteers are responsible for the care, husbandry and safe transport of the dogs that return early from the race. Volunteers are assigned to one of four locations: Anchorage, McGrath, Unalakleet or Nome. Handlers help set up and take down lots in each location. They are also responsible for maintaining a clean environment for the dogs. Volunteers include, Return Dog Handlers in all four locations and Office Crew Support in Anchorage. Handlers work closely with Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians. Shifts are 8-12 hours working mostly outside. Priority will be given to volunteers with sled dog handling / mushing or working dog experience. You must have proper gear, be flexible, a team player and be able to lift 50+ lbs. and be of sufficient health to work in arctic conditions. Volunteer duration is 7– 10 days.
- Banquet Host/Hostess – Banquet volunteer Hours are 12Noon – 10PM the day of the banquet. Setting up banquet tables with centerpieces, magazines, Checking peoples tickets and manning entrance doors until everyone is seated, helping people find their tables, help with the live auction and anywhere else that is needed. There is no food service involved. You will be required to stand for long periods of time.
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.
- Trail Crew – Trail crew at checkpoints perform many functions: clear and set up parking places for resting teams, organize supplies for mushers(drop bags, straw, heet, water), prepare hospitality areas for mushers. Clean up after teams leave. Run teams in and out of checkpoints. They are hardy people who are used to heavy work in sub-zero weather around the clock. Ideal trail crew are strong, and able to perform heavy manual labor for between 2 and 10 days(depending on checkpoint)
- Iditarod Air Force Logistics (IAF) – Logistical Help will Center on supporting aircraft movements and airfield operations for the Iditarod Air Force. Duties will be assigned by IAF Chief Pilot and Director of Operations and likely involve loading/unloading aircraft, refueling, running vehicles (trucks and snow machines) to support operations, and any other duties assigned. Personnel can expect heavy lifting, long hours in the cold, working from dawn to dusk. Benefits are seeing how an airline works from the inside.
- Ramp Loader- Responsible for loading, unloading and building up loads for transport by IAF. Mostly outside work, requires good physical strength, cold tolerance and familiarity with working on airfield ramps in ANC, MCG, or UNC.
- Dispatch- Responsible for coordinating loads for the IAF aircraft and monitoring aircraft in flight. Works closely with Assistant Chief Pilot in hubs to organize air operations.
- Expediter- Based in ANC, expeditors role is many faceted to include driving passengers, collecting equipment, buying parts and and any other tasks as assigned by Assistant Chief Pilot.
- Commercial Flight Coordinator- Based in Anchorage. Works closely with IAF to coordinate, track and fill available seats on ITC procured commercial flights.
- Aircraft Mechanic- Responsible for maintaining IAF fleet as needed during the race. Works under IAF Director of Maintenance and may be based in ANC, MCG or UNK.
- Veterinarian – If you are a licensed veterinarian and would like to volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to join our Veterinary Team.
- Veterinarian Technicians/Veterinary Nurses- These positions are for licensed veterinary technicians/veterinary nurses only. These positions are to work the Pre-Race ECG Blood Work program and/or with the Returned Dog Veterinarians along the trail at a few locations from Anchorage to Nome providing medical care to the dogs. Requirements include ability to lift 50#, be in sufficient health to work in arctic conditions, be able to confidently place intravenous catheters, and perform basic medical math. Previous experience with sled dog athletes is highly desirable.
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/ IditaRider Liaisons – Public Relations, assist Idita-Riders and family members in locating their mushers. Provide escort to Public Officials and Honored Guests.
- 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.
- Dog Handler Training will be @ Wasilla HQ February 17th 10:00am / LakeFront Hotel March 1st 10:00am & 12:00 Noon
- Assist wherever needed.
- End of Anchorage Race 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 – 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 the start line.
- Dog Handler Training will be @ Wasilla HQ February 17th 10:00am / LakeFront Hotel March 1st 10:00am & 12:00 Noon
- 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.
- Finish Chute Set-up (need volunteers there the weekend before the finish)
- 24 Hour Office Help: – Information desk attendant, taking messages, answering phones, volunteer check-in and sign up. Other activities as required.
- Dog Lot – 4 hour shifts around the clock providing security for the dog lot. Ensuring the dogs are resting comfortably in a safe, clean secure environment. Other duties as required
- Sales – Assisting customers with purchases and questions. Restocking inventory and refreshing displays.
- Chute Security – Providing security as assigned at the finish line chute for the first 5 –10 teams.
- Banquet Set-up – Early day preparation of the venue area for the banquet, including setting up tables and chairs, erecting the stage, hanging banners and transferring meal products to the prep areas.
- Banquet Worker – Preparing buffet tables for service and replenishing as needed. Clean up after food service and tear down after event. There are a few volunteers needed for beverage service. A TAP Card is recommended.
- End of Race Tear Down – Disassemble the chute, headquarters, pack up supplies for storage or shipping.
Other Opportunities at Race Time and During the Year
Please check the dates of these activities to make sure you will be in the state
Check the Calendar of Events for current dates.
- Make Foot Ointment – (Mid Jan) Wasilla HQ -Making foot ointment for the dogs
- People Food Drop – (Mid Feb) Airland Transport, Anchorage – Doing inventory, separating & distributing volunteer food for the checkpoints
- Straw Drop – (Mid Feb) Airland Transport, Anchorage – Bagging & weighing straw bales for checkpoints
- Musher Food Drop –(Mid Feb) Airland Transport, Anchorage – Weighing & palletizing musher food bags for each checkpoint, You need to be fit & be able to lift 50#
- Hauling Food Drop Load Out – (Mid Feb) distributing to small planes(Iditarod Air force) musher bags & food to early checkpoints at the Willow Airport
- Unloading Trailers at ITC HQ – Dates TBD, generally 2nd week in April – unloading musher sleds, equipment etc coming back from the trail
- Volunteer Picnic – Wasilla, ITC HQ Last Saturday of June – Helping set up tents the day before the picnic. Setting up tables and chairs, putting out the recycle and garbage cans, helping with raffle drawings and musher sign ups the day of the picnic.
- Jr. Iditarod – Last Saturday of February
- After you have turned in your application form, you might not be contacted by a coordinator until after the holidays. This is when we start ramping up for the race. 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 position after a coordinator has contacted you and you have accepted the volunteer 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 volunteer areas increases our ability to place you in a 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 DO NOT submit a new application form. You may 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 Registration Center where you will pick up your volunteer hat and name badge. Be sure to have your paperwork submitted online before coming to pick up your credentials.
- You must be 18 or older to volunteer in most places. Must be accompanied by an adult if under 18.
- 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! You must be physically fit.
- Please note, you are not permitted to be taking photographs or video while you are on volunteer shifts. Please see the Social Media policy provided upon approval of your volunteer application.
- Due to Copyrights & Media Policy it is strictly prohibited to go live on Social Media at the Start, Restart or Finish of the race, or during any part of the live race (including checkpoints) no matter if you are volunteering or spectating at the time. Thank you.