Volunteers for the 2020 Iditarod

2020 Iditarod volunteer registration is now closed.


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. The Iditarod Trail Committee® 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.

Volunteer Registration Form – Start, Restart, Trail, and Other

Volunteer Registration Form – Finish/Nome

Information for those applying for volunteer positions with the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

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. List only one volunteer per form even if the information is the same for multiple volunteers. Volunteers must be at least 18. Please fill out a registration form only one time. If you have questions about your registration form, would like to add or delete jobs to a form you already filled out, or have any other questions about being a race volunteer, contact Diane Johnson, (605) 290-3423 or send an email to  djohnson@iditarod.com 

If you would like to volunteer in Nome, please make your lodging arrangements well in advance, don’t wait until a coordinator contacts you.

All volunteers registering online will be entered in our database and receive important information about volunteering, the race, special events, as well as other information through our newsletter system as well as by email from coordinators.  If you are a new subscriber to our newsletter and wish to not receive newsletters from us, you may unsubscribe to our newsletter, but you might miss important information that you’ll need to know about volunteering.  If you have unsubscribed to our newsletters and want to start receiving our newsletters again, you must contact djohnson@iditarod.com and request being put back on the newsletter list.



  • After registering, you should have received a confirmation notification at the bottom of the page near the submit button.This means your registration was submitted successfully. If you don’t see that message, don’t worry,  very likely something on your computer just prevented it from giving you the message. You should also get an email from Iditarod Insider. If you don’t get that message within a few minutes, check your spam/junk mail. You might need to approve the sender (insider@iditarod.com). Do not reply to the email message you receive. If you need further information, contact djohnson@iditarod.com. 
  •  Many of our coordinators, volunteers themselves, do not begin to contact volunteers until they are ready to schedule volunteers which could be after the new year. Some begin sooner. Please be patient. You are considered an official volunteer after you have been contacted by a coordinator and agreed to the schedule or job assignment. Most volunteers who register are assigned jobs, especially if the volunteer is flexible to volunteer in different areas. So, don’t wait to make travel plans, especially if you are planning to be at the race this year no matter if you volunteer or not, especially if you hope to volunteer in Nome.

All volunteers are required to pick up race credentials and sign a release form  before checking in with individual coordinators for assignments. Preference for several volunteer assignments are reserved for ITC Members only and/or volunteers with experience in specific areas. Consider becoming an ITC member if you are not a member or renewing your membership PRIOR to picking up your race credentials.  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 late February until a few days after the start of the race. For those volunteering only in Nome, for your convenience, a volunteer desk will be set up in the Mini Convention Center beginning March 9. Nome volunteers need not register at the Lakefront 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 (formerly the Millennium). The ITC doesn’t pay for volunteer transportation or lodging. 




Ceremonial Start in Anchorage, Restart in Willow, and the Trail — Volunteer Opportunities

Race Headquarters at the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel

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

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 Wednesday Feb.21st through March 8th. 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 _0DS2861-1

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 workstation 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. Training for volunteers will be announced in the fall. Please plan to attend the training session. Your time spent training will help you function in a confident and business-like manner.

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.

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. ANC volunteers are over 18 years old, 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.

This department is located at the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel. Work begins on Restart day and continues 24 hours a day until the last team arrives in Nome. Six-hour shifts begin at 0600, 1200, 1800, and midnight.

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 ITC membership, and possess a Dog Handler card.

Trail Position

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 Assistants: The Iditarod veterinary staff is comprised of volunteer veterinarians from around the world. Requirements for participation include a minimum of five years of practice experience in small animal medicine and surgery, 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.


Race Start Day:  Saturday, March 7, 2020


  • Musher Parking – Early Saturday Morning, 5 AM – 9:00 AM, 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.

ReStart Day: Sunday, March 8, 2020

  • 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 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.
  • 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


Nome —  Volunteer Opportunities


  • 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.
  • 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

  • Make Foot Ointment – Wasilla HQ (January 2020 – date TBD)9459
  • People Food Drop – Airland Transport, Anchorage (Friday, Feb. 21, 2020)
  • Straw Drop – Airland Transport, Anchorage (Thursday, Feb.. 13, 2020)
  • Musher Food Drop – Airland Transport, Anchorage (Wednesday & Thursday, February 19 & 20, 2020)
  • Hauling Food Drop Load Out – Willow Airport, Anchorage (Saturday, February 22, 2020)
  • Media Conference – Lakefront (Wednesday, March 4, 2020)
  • Banquet Hostess — Dena’ina Center (Thursday, March 5, 2020)
  • 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 (Saturday, June 27, 2020)
  • Jr. Iditarod (Saturday, February 29 & Sunday, March 1, 2020)

*Please note, dates subject to change.  Please check back and refer to the ITC Calendar of Events 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 djohnson@iditarod.com and 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 who are in charge of 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, 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.  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.  Going live on Facebook, no matter if you are volunteering or a race fan, is not permitted under any circumstances due to copyright and media policy.  Thank you.

 *Questions?  Contact djohnson@iditarod.com