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Mushers make it to Pond Inlet

Driving winds and lots of snow made it hard to travel, but the eight mushers and their dog teams made it to Pond Inlet from Iglulik at the end of the Nunavut Quest on April 29.

Iglulik's Jonah Qaunaq came in first place, winning the grand prize of $15,000, followed by Lee Inuaraq with the second-place prize of $7,000 and Andy Attagutalukutuk in third place, winning $4,000. The final five contestants, one of whom – Peter Siakuluk – was just 25 minutes shy of third place, all took home $2,000.

A musher and his dog team arrive in Pond Inlet at the finish line of the Nunavut Quest on April 29. photo courtesy Baffin Fisheries

Nunavut News could not reach the winning contestants by press time.

Fundraiser Rhoda Natanine, who also presented the awards to the winning mushers at a ceremony in Pond Inlet, said there was much excitement when the mushers came in.

"(There were) lots of people down at the ice," said Natanine.

It wasn't easy to get there, after all. Weather conditions halted the race at times and had mushers relying on snowmobile travel to get through some impassable stretches.

Natanine said the mushers, who left Iglulik on April 20, encountered so much snow and bad conditions, when they got to Milne Inlet that they had to snowmobile for part of the way.

"It was really windy, I have heard," said Natanine. "After two days (of waiting) they started travelling again and then most of the time it was windy and there was lots and lots and lots of snow."

Eventually, Natanine says, they had to be driven by snowmobile – "All of them, even the dogs" — through part of the final stretch.

"And they made it to Pond the next day," she said.

Baffin Fisheries was a major sponsor of the event, and posted on its website about keeping the great tradition alive.

"Congratulations to all those who participated and completed this challenging trek," it stated.

It was announced at the closing banquet in Pond Inlet that next year's race will be run from Pond Inlet to Arctic Bay.


2018 Nunavut Quest results

  • 1st place: Iglulik's Jonah Qaunaq, 31 hours and 9 minutes
  • 2nd place: Pond Inlet's Lee Inuaraq, 31 hours and 28 minutes
  • 3rd place: Iglulik's Andy Attagutalukutuk, 32 hours and 4 minutes

Remaining contestants

  • Hall Beach's Peter Siakuluk, 32 hours and 29 minutes
  • Pond Inlet's Charlie Inuarak, 33 hours and 38 minutes
  • Arctic Bay's Michael Qaunaq, 34 hours and 17 minutes
  • Arctic Bay's David Uyukuluk, 37 hours and 8 minutes
  • Pond Inlet's Panoelie Okango, 43 hours and 45 minutes
Sources: Baffin Fisheries and Rhoda Natanine