Frontrunner Sass survives moose encounter on Yukon Quest trail
ERIN CORNELIUSSEN / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
EAGLE, Alaska — Brent Sass extended his lead, survived a charging moose and heads toward Fairbanks with a dozen dogs in good shape.
After an eventful day, the Eureka musher is ready to call himself the front-runner.
“It’s totally my race to lose at this point,” he said after arriving in Eagle on Thursday afternoon, roughly 40 miles ahead of two-time champion Allen Moore.
Sass had to earn that lead, however, after telling a riveted checkpoint crowd of a close encounter with a moose on the trail near Dawson City.
Sass said he turned off the Yukon River onto part of the trail that had a cliff on one side and a drop-off on the other. In his way was a bull moose with nowhere to go.
“It literally just slowly sauntered right at us,” he said. “Its hackles went up and it walked straight at us.”
Sass said the moose rose up on its back legs and pounded its feet down toward his four front dogs, letting up puffs of snow around them.
When his unhurt team scurried to the side, the moose wandered by just a few feet away.
It’s the second consecutive year that he’s run into a moose. Last year, Sass used a ski pole to swat away a charging moose in roughly the same spot.
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