Nome, Alaska

By Nathaniel Wilder

The Iditarod is a nearly 1,000-mile-long sled-dog race that pits mushers against each other and the elements as they cross much of Alaska to become the first team to Nome, on the shores of the Bering Sea.

It’s Alaska’s biggest sporting event and brings thousands of spectators, volunteers, handlers, media and mushers – as dog sled racers are known – to downtown Anchorage for the “ceremonial start” of the race.

The following day they gather again at the official restart in the town of Willow – the point from which teams set out for the north in earnest. I’ve photographed these two starts for Reuters four times, but this year was the first time that I travelled to Nome for the finish.

Since I arrived early in Nome, I spent time searching for images that showed the character of the town. I got what I was looking for when I met a guy out on the sea ice, flying a blue tarp like a kite. “I’m in my own little world out here,” he told me.

I also hunted for images that showed the town’s remoteness. I got lucky when I walked past the last house on the coastal side of the main street and realized it would be a great place to photograph the frozen coast and capture the trail that mushers would take as they approached the finish line.