All Around Helpers:
Willing to volunteer wherever needed. Indoors or out. Varied hours and work assignments.
Placing and picking up banners and signs in designated areas before, during and after ECX events.
Helps banquet coordinator. Available tasks include food prep, food serving, decorating tables, set up, seating, entertainment, ticket collection, and clean up.
Hand delivers brochures and handouts to Sponsors, Local Merchants, and Media Outlets. Transportation a plus.
Checkpoint Set Up/Take Down:
Assists Checkpoint Managers in hauling in and setting up of remote camp equipment such as tents, stoves, latrines, wood piles, kitchen areas. Snowmobile and snowmobile experience a plus. Winter working conditions. Good health and strong resolve a benefit.
Communications are the nerve system of therace. Communicators tie the race together by using a variety of communication options to ensure a smooth and safe race. Workers use ham radios, land line phones, cell phones, internet, and line of sight radios to communicate with the public and other workers. Communicators fill out forms and pass on information. Spots are available in the Joseph Area and the backcountry area. Amateur radio license a plus. Able to work in a noisy, fast paced environment.
Provides guidance to public and participants at designated areas.
Pick up from local merchants and suppliers food, equipment, and supplies and deliver them to designated distribution points.
Assist mushers in team control and safely handle sled dogs at the race start. Work is outside and proper winter clothing is necessary. Works with Dog Hanlding Coordinator and Start Chute Boss.
Help inventory, track and repair all race equipment.
Helps the Sponsorship Coordinator solicit new and continuing sponsors for the ECX. Prepares sponsorship packets and presents them to prospective sponsors. Basic computer skills and fundraising experience helpful.
Assists the ECX Board of Directors in procuring grant funds. Good phone, verbal, and written skills. Grant writing experience a plus.
Helps with the content, design, and distribution of public relations information and materials. Creates press releases and media packets for news reporters.
Helps the Merchandise Coordinator sell ECX merchandise at Race Central, the Vet Check areas, the Start /Finish areas and the Banquet. Can get involved with internet sales if interested.
Musher Coordinator Assistant:
Helps the musher coordinator with all things related to mushers like the musher welcome packets, the biographies, musher pictures, musher potluck, musher dog handler’s information and housing.
Designs and produces a newsletter to report ongoing news to the members and sponsors. Writer needs to take the initiative to contact coordinators for newsletter content. Basic computer skills helpful. Minimum output four newsletters a year.
Works with the Race Central Coordinator during or before the race. Helps with the filing, typing and imputing of results. Helps pass out information to the public and answers questions. Helps keep the race office organized and running smoothly.
Works with the Public Relations Coordinator to document the race in pictures and tries to get the illustrations needed for the public relations information given out by the race. Experienced at creating photo opportunities and digital production is helpful.
Start Chute Area:
Workers help the Chute Boss handle the start. Workers are needed to handle dogs, use ATV’s for team control, and co-ordinate safe and timely starts for each competitive team.
Start/Finish Team: Helps the Start/Finish Coordinators set up and take down all the fencing, gates, PA equipment, staging, and special work areas for the start/finish.
Works at checkpoints logging in arrival and departure times and checks safety equipment carried by the mushers.
All trail work is outside in the winter time so proper winter clothing is necessary. Owning a snowmobile is a plus. The Trail Boss directs all trail maintenance and preparation and race crews. The trail boss crew is made up of three people. This crew is responsible for marking, packing and clearing of the race course. During the race all trail crews always travel in pairs on snowmobiles and usually work 50 mile stretches on the race course. There are also point and sweep crews for each designated race or stage. Each designated race has a point crew pair that travel in front of the lead dog team. Each designated race also has a sweep crew that travels behind the last team at a safe and non disturbing distance. Plan on long snowmobile runs at night with unpredictable weather and little sleep. Higher level of snowmobile experience helpful.
Shorter trail crew work includes half day time blocks where snowmobiles are used to transport equipment and personnel in to outlying checkpoints. This usually involves meeting at Salt Creek Summit loading a tub trailer full of equipment and pulling the trailer to the designated area. This happens before and after the race.
Trail Sign Construction:
Construct trail markers and signs with supplied materials and instructions.
Help the Vet Check Coordinator set up and supply the vet check areas. Requires some recording and form filing, and handing out of information. Also hands out drop bags to the mushers.
Works under the Head Vet. Requires pre-approval by the Head Vet and all duties are assigned by the head vet.
When you volunteer at the Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Race you obtain an up close and personal opportunity to play a supporting role in this incredible partnership between dogs and mushers.
While working before the race and as the teams travel the race course, you will hear fascinating stories and meet wonderful people and dogs. This opportunity is not available to many.
Eagle Cap Extreme (ECX) offers about 250 volunteer job opportunities. ECX breaks jobs down into small, manageable units to make them attractive and satisfying to a large cross section of people.
Volunteers with a can do attitude and ready for on the job training do just fine. Don't let lack of experience stand in your way. We all learned on the job. We encourage you to take on a little bit at first and expand where your interests take you.
When volunteering for ECX it is important to answer these questions:
Jobs during the year include event planning, office assistance, fundraising, pamphlet making, media writing, equipment procurement and repair, and public relations.
Pre Race preparation includes inventory checking, cleaning, transportation, checkpoint set ups, office set ups, trail maintenance, copying, billeting, musher packets, communications, merchandize, trophies, banquet planning.
During the race combines all of these plus dog handlers, office assistants, road guards, communication aides, drivers, checkpoint crews, trail crews, start finish crews, vet crews, merchandize crews, and banquet crews.
General Overview: Conditions, Gear, Tents
Checkpoint Ollokot is a remote backcountry checkpoint that is accessed by snowmobile only. This is a very busy checkpoint as all the distance teams, the snowmobile trail workers, and officials pass through here. All volunteers and gear will be taken into the checkpoint by snowmobile. Winter wilderness camping conditions exist with extreme cold and prolonged exposure to the elements. Pay particular attention to warm footwear and waterproof outerwear. Workers are expected to bring their own warm clothing (lots of layers), their own sleeping bag, sleeping pad, personal items, head lamp and personal snacks or any special foods they require. Pack all personal gear in labeled stuff bags or soft duffels lined with plastic garbage bags to keep all your gear dry. At the checkpoint your gear will be stored under the cots or in the sleeping tents. Pack as compact as possible. Remember to label the stuff bag and also the stuff that is in it. Anything stored under the cots will freeze even if the tent has a wood stove in it. To insure that you get to sleep in your own sleeping bag keep it stuffed until you are in it.
Typically everyone helps in setting up the tents and the kitchen area. In addition, everyone helps out with the cooking and general camp duties. The checkpoint is busy most of the race and requires volunteers who are committed and equipped to work in a remote winter environment. The rewards are great.
There are 8 tents at Ollokot. One is a hospitality tent where food and cooking facilities are available 24/7. Two tents are sleeping tents for workers to sleep. Workers rotate sleeping times. One tent is a sleeping tent for mushers. Another tent is the comms tent for the communications team workers and the radios. Then two tents are for the veterinarians and any officials going through. The last tent is for the Trail Crew. You are welcome to bring your own tent but please contact the checkpoint manager ahead of time.
Food for mushers and workers is provided in the Hospitality Tent 24/7 starting on Wednesday evening dinner. If you are at Ollokot on Wednesday during the day please provide your own lunch and snacks. Provided food consists of hot drinks, hot stews and soups served in crock pots, and breads, rolls and sandwich making items. If you prefer, you are more than welcome to bring all your own food. You need to supply any treats, snacks, soft drinks or special foods you personally require.
Setting Up Ollokot
Ollokot is set up in stages. The pre stage equipment is usually taken in the third week of November and left at Ollokot. This equipment consists of wood, hay, and as much heavy stuff that can be packed in a trailer. The Wednesday before the race most of the rest of the equipment is taken in along with a set-up crew. This equipment is all hauled in by snowmobile and tracked 4 wheelers. Wood is split and transported to each tent. Tents are set up and labeled. Team parking areas are designated with signs, dog bedding hay is distributed and the trails for snowmobile use marked and snow fencing put up. Sled dog trails and parking areas are marked, fenced and packed down with snowmobiles. The set-up crew remains overnight. At least two of the comms workers are required to go in with the Wednesday set-up crew to set up communications.
Thursday morning around 7:00am or 8:00am the rest of the checkpoint workers meet at Race Central for carpooling to the drop point, a 2 hour drive, where they then catch snowmobile rides into the checkpoint. All personal equipment comes in at this time. After arriving at Ollokot the workers do any additional set up that is needed and any other camp organization that is needed. All workers then stay and work at the checkpoint until Saturday around noon or as soon as the last dog team leaves. At that time the checkpoint is broken down and all gear is hauled out to the drop point, loaded on to trucks, and workers catch rides back to Race Central.
Safety is a mindset that must be adhered to at all times, safety for yourself, as well as everyone at Ollokot. Precautions and procedures will be reviewed by the checkpoint manager and QRT (Quick Response Team/Safety) Leader when you arrive at Ollokot. Try to keep a quiet checkpoint while mushers, dogs, and workers are sleeping. When handling the dogs be careful not step on the dogs' feet. Always ask the musher before handling any of their dogs. No alcoholic beverages or rowdy behavior is permitted. The Checkpoint Manager has final say in all areas.
Jobs At Ollokot
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at Ollokot
The race is scheduled to start at 12:00 pm (1200) on Thursday at Ferguson Ridge Ski Area. After all the teams have started, the vets that covered the start drive to the Ollokot drop point pick up site. Around 4:00pm (1600) Snowmobile transport is sent out from Ollokot Checkpoint to pick them up plus any other officials that are coming into Ollokot at that time. The first sled dog teams will be arriving at around 5:00 pm (1700) and continue to arrive until all are in. This could span 5 hours. The 100 milers have a mandatory rest time and remain for 6 hours while the 200 milers have the option of continuing on at their discretion. For the 200 milers Ollokot is a mandatory check in but not a mandatory rest stop at their discretion they can rest or go out on the Twin Lakes Loop part of the race (Leg #2). Some stay and rest for up to three or four hours, some opt to just go right out again and rest on a quiet part of the trail instead.
The 200 milers will start returning to Ollokot from the Twin Lakes Loop about 12:00am (2400) the same time some of the 100 milers are leaving for the finish. This is usually around 11:00 to 12:00 pm (2300-2400). The team arrivals and departures are quite staggered by this time so usually present no problems. There is a possibility of some head on passing by the teams coming into and going out of Ollokot for a short amount of time.
From about 1:00am (0100) Friday morning to about 7:00am (0700) the 200 milers are all doing their mandatory 6 hours of rest at Ollokot. When it is their time to leave they will run the PO Saddle Loop (Leg #3). After completing this loop the 200 Mile teams will drop into Ollokot again for a mandatory check in and then rest for a short amount of time or be on their way out on the race trail again headed for the finish (Leg #4).. Check the Estimated Arrival and Departures Times for a better estimate of the potential arrival times and where the teams may be on the race course at a given time.
In between the team arrivals and departures, dropped dogs are being shuttled out to their pickup point at the Ollokot drop point. Point and Sweep crews are coming in grabbing food and maybe getting some rest and going out again. Most workers get no rest until Friday after breakfast. At one time there may be 45 people and 100+ dogs at Ollokot.
Many workers come in and go out of Ollokot on snowmobiles. Snowmobiles have a designated parking area and should not be anywhere else in the checkpoint.
Saturday morning a transport crew arrives around 8 am (0800) in the morning at the checkpoint to start shuttling out all the gear. Some equipment is repacked in the horse trailer for a spring pick up while the rest goes out on the tub trailers pulled behind the snowmobiles. When the last team goes out there is a serious hustle to close camp and return to Joseph.
Suggested List for Remote Checkpoint
At Ollokot plan on winter wilderness camping conditions with extreme cold and prolonged exposure to the elements while working the race. Pay particular attention to warm footwear and waterproof outerwear. Workers are expected to bring their own warm clothing (lots of layers, NO COTTON!), their own sleeping bag, sleeping pad, personal items, head lamp, and snacks. It is very important to pack all personal gear in labeled stuff bags or soft duffels lined with plastic garbage bags to keep all your gear dry. At the checkpoint you will store your gear under the cots or in the sleeping tents. Following is a suggested list. Pack as compact as possible.
The ECX Amateur Radio Network consists of a VHF repeater located near Race Central in Joseph linked to a UHF repeater the near the Salt Creek Summit checkpoint. A VHF remote base on the UHF repeater gives backcountry units additional channel options to make contact with net control. Safety and Communications volunteers are located at Ferguson Ridge (Start/Finish), Salt Creek Summit, and Ollokot. Additional mobile units operate on snowmobiles as part of the trail crew.
The communications net operates for about 45 hours continuously, directed by a net control station at Race Central. Net Control operates mostly paperless, using a custom built web application that tracks resources, mushers, and weather across the course. A local server combined with generator and battery backups protects the system from power and Internet outages. Data from this system updates public websites and displays at Race Central around the clock. Race communications maybe monitored around the world through an Echolink Conference and a public Internet portal.