Meet the Mushers
Watch our Video about the Race
Read Stories about the Race
Come to our Great Winter Event

All Around Helpers:
Willing to volunteer wherever needed. Indoors or out. Varied hours and work assignments.

Banner/Sign Placement:
Placing and picking up banners and signs in designated areas before, during and after ECX events.

Banquet Team:
Helps banquet coordinator. Available tasks include food prep, food serving, decorating tables, set up, seating, entertainment, ticket collection, and clean up.

Brochure/Banner Distribution:
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:
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.

Crowd Control/Parking:
Provides guidance to public and participants at designated areas.

Delivery Personal:
Pick up from local merchants and suppliers food, equipment, and supplies and deliver them to designated distribution points.

Dog Handlers:
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.

Equipment Inventory:
Help inventory, track and repair all race equipment.

Fund Raising/Sponsorship:
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.

Grant Writing:
Assists the ECX Board of Directors in procuring grant funds. Good phone, verbal, and written skills. Grant writing experience a plus.

Media/Public Relations:
Helps with the content, design, and distribution of public relations information and materials. Creates press releases and media packets for news reporters.

Merchandise Sales:
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.

Newsletter Writer:
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.

Office Support:
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.

Photographer:
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.

Timers/Checkers:
Works at checkpoints logging in arrival and departure times and checks safety equipment carried by the mushers.

Trail Crew:
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.

Vet Check:
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.

Veterinarians/Vet Techs:
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:

  1. How much time can you comfortably handle?
  2. Can you work during the week, weekends, or both?
  3. Can you only work from your home?
  4. What experience do you have that could benefit ECX and the race?
  5. Do you prefer indoor only work, outdoor only work, or a combination?
  6. If you can work outdoors do you have the attitude, stamina, clothing, and equipment to keep you safe and happy?
  7. Could you share a job with a friend?

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 Overveiw: 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 6 tents at Ollokot. These consist of a hospitality tent where food and cooking facilities are available 24/7. Two tents are sleeping tents where workers and mushers sleep, one has cots and one has hay with tarps laid over the hay. Workers rotate sleeping times. Another tent is the comms tent for the communications team workers and the radios. The last tent is an officials tent for the veterinarians and any officials going through. 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. This consists of hot drinks, hot stews and soups served in crock pots, and breads, rolls and sandwich making items. A Friday morning pancake breakfast is served to all present. 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. This consists of wood, hay, and as much heavy stuff that can be packed in a horse trailer. The Wednesday before the race most of the rest of the equipment is taken in along with a set-up crew. This is all 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 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 car pooling to Pallette Ranch, 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 Pallette Ranch loaded on to trucks and workers catch rides back to Race Central.

General Rules

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

  • Communicators set up and run all the communication gear. They are responsible for the conduit of information transmitted via radio to all set up stations, trail mobiles, or checkpoints attached to the race.
  • Timekeepers record official times of the arrivals and departures of the teams from the checkpoint on time adjustment cards. They are stationed up by an official line located close to the hospitality tent. Time is recorded when the lead dogs nose crosses the official line. Timekeepers use synchronized watches for timing and also record the number of dogs in each team that comes into the checkpoint and the time and number of dogs in the team as it departs the checkpoint. All departing dogs must be in harness and under their own power.
    The 8 dog teams or the 100 mile distance teams have a 6 hour mandatory layover time at Ollokot. There are three time adjustment cards with the calculated departure times for each 8 dog team. When these are filled in by the timekeeper, the musher gets one copy, the timekeeper keeps one and the third one is turned in to the comms tent. Eight dog teams can not depart the checkpoint until that calculated departure time is reached.
    The 12 dog teams or 200 mile distance teams are required to go through the checking procedure at Ollokot but can leave at their discretion. If the musher opts to stay to rest, that team needs to be shown to a parking place. If the musher decides to continue on the team will be directed out to the race trail. After finishing the 50 mile Duck Lake Loop the 200 mile teams return to Ollokot for their mandatory 6 hour layover. Time adjustment cards are filled out and distributed the same way as the 8 dog teams above.
  • Checkers check that the required safety gear is on the sled. Checkers are stationed at the official timing line but also may move with the entering team to a parking place. You will have a checklist card for each team on a clipboard. You visually acknowledge each item and then check it off. Be patient as sometimes the musher has to dig for all the items. If a dog is “in the bag”, riding on the sled, when a sled comes in sometimes it is easier to do the gear check at the parking place.
  • The Cook prepares and lays out the food for all the mushers and workers. The cooks most demanding part of the job is determining what to buy and packing the food for transport in to Ollokot. Up to 40 people at a time can be at Ollokot.
  • Dog Handlers help control and guide the teams to and from their parking areas. Dog handlers will be broken up into handlers and parkers and will rotate these positions. You will be using small hand held radios. Initially dog handlers are at the team parking area but move around a lot getting all the teams parked or out onto the race course again when it is time for a team to leave Write down the parking area number where the team ends up. Mushers needing help getting the team out will usually come find you ahead of time.
  • After the team stops at the line, it is helpful to have a free worker stand in front of the lead dogs to keep the team lined out while waiting and to keep them from wandering to the left or right and dragging the rest of the team with them. When handling the dogs always ask permission from the musher before handling any dog. Be very careful not to step on a dogs feet. You can help the musher locate straw, water and dog food bags but you can not help the musher with any of his dog duties. After the team is parked return to your parking station for the next arrivals.
  • The Camp Tender oversees the overall smooth running of the checkpoint focusing on the tents, the wood supply, the woodstoves, the packed trails, the fencing and any help that anyone needs.
  • Gasoline Monitor keeps track of the gasoline usage of the snow machines coming into and departing Ollokot. This is done by unlocking the bulk gasoline tank, dispensing the gas and writing the quantity on a tracking sheet.
  • Snowmobile Drivers transport equipment, shuttle passengers and transport dropped dogs back and forth as needed.
  • Vet Team is responsible for the care and well being of the sled dogs. At Ollokot there are 3-4 vets and 3-4 vet techs.

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 are drive to the Pallette Ranch pick up site. Around 4:00pm (1600) Snowmobile transport is sent out 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 until they complete the Twin Lake Loop #1 part of the race (Leg 2) at the halfway point of their race. 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 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 teams 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 rerun the Twin Lake Loop, called Twin Lake Loop #2, 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. 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 teams arrivals and departures, dropped dogs are being shuttled out to their pickup point at Pallette Ranch, 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

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, breakfasts and snacks. 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.

  1. Cold weather sleeping bag or two sleeping bags
  2. Insulating sleeping pad
  3. Long john top
  4. Turtle neck
  5. Light Fleece pullover
  6. Down vest or fleece vest
  7. Down sweater
  8. Gortex shell or ski parka
  9. Long john bottoms, microfleece, 2 pairs or more
  10. Pants
  11. Waterproof over pants
  12. 1 head lamp with your name on it, extra batteries
  13. 3 pairs of socks, wool blend
  14. 1 pair sorrels or insulated winter snow boots
  15. 1 pair of fingerless wool or fleece gloves
  16. 1 pair of fleece gloves or ski mittens
  17. 1 pair of ski goggles (optional)
  18. Ski hat
  19. Sunglasses
  20. 2 Way FRS Radio+batteries
  21. Extra or personal food
  22. Camp cot (optional) put your name on it
  23. Personal gear: camera, medicines, hand warmers, baby wipes, etc.
  24. Ear plugs(sleeping)
  25. Helmet for riding snowmobiles (optional)

Amateur radio serves as the primary communications means for the Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Race. The Amateur Radio function evolved over the past several races and now consists of a highly specialized team that receives special training and operates using procedures detailed in a comprehensive Safety and Communications Manual. Using amateur radio gives a big boost to logistical and strategic planning plus extra major ounces of safety for volunteers, race officials, spectators, and the sled teams. Would you like to volunteer? Please email our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. visit our Job Descriptions page for more information.

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.

The race had amateur radio volunteers from, literally, around the nation. If you would like to volunteer for this years race, please email our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit Job Descriptions page for more information. You can also CLICK HERE to fill out the online application for the Safety and COmmunications Team. If you fill this application out, there is no need to fill out any other application for ECX. You will receive an email confirmation that it was received.