Viktor Davare recently returned from the arctic as one of the official photographers for the Yukon Quest - a 1,000-mile international sled dog race. Photo by Viktor Davare

Valley photographer captures spirit of the north with Yukon Quest experience

“The Yukon has some kind of magic.”

Viktor Davare came prepared; facing regular temperatures below -30C wasn’t a problem for him in early February this year as he traversed throughout the Yukon and Alaska.

He had the right coat, a faux-fur lined hat and even hand warmers in his pockets in order to keep his fingers nimble for photographing, but warm enough to prevent frostbite.

The Comox Valley photographer recently returned from the arctic as one of the official photographers for the Yukon Quest – a 1,000-mile international sled dog race that follows the winter land routes travelled by prospectors, adventurers and mail carriers who travelled between the gold fields of the Klondike and the Alaska interior.

“The Yukon has some kind of magic,” explained Davare, who has photographed the event – and other northern races – before.

In 2017, Davare followed adventure racer Michal Kielbasinski on a 1,600km ultra-marathon journey from Whitehorse to Fairbanks, Alaska, and documented his story.

Since then, Davare connected with others who have been covering the race, including filmmakers who were creating a documentary.

He has photographed the race multiple times and plans to return as many times as he can.

Part of why he is so passionate about sharing his images is to break any negative stereotypes about dog sledding.

“It’s a way of life. People use dogsleds to take their kids to school; there’s absolutely zero negative consequences. The dog dies for you and you die for the dog – it’s a different way of life.”

Dog teams and their mushers travel across a vast landscape of lakes, rivers, overland trails and mountain passes.

Teams start with a maximum of 14 dogs, and the race requires mushers to have a minimum of six dogs to stay in the race. There are nine checkpoints, and the race takes approximately 10 days to complete.

All Yukon Quest sled dogs receive at least one, and often more, complete physical exams by the vet teams during their rest in Dawson City to ensure they are ready to compete in the remainder of the race.

Davare explained photographing the sport in the cold wasn’t too difficult on his equipment with the exception of some of his GoPros not fully functioning but added it was not always an easy shooting environment.

“You can’t make a mistake when you’re there … it’s not forgiving.”

Since returning to the Comox Valley, Davare has processed his images and is already planning his trip back next year. He gladly supplies photos to the mushers and donates other photos to local organizations for support such as salmon enhancement programs.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Viktor Davare recently returned from the arctic as one of the official photographers for the Yukon Quest - a 1,000-mile international sled dog race. Photo by Viktor Davare

Just Posted

North Island College announces 2020 graduation award winners

North Island College has announced the award recipients for the 2020 Graduation… Continue reading

Couple opts for plan B for wedding in Courtenay

Pandemic restrictions prompt April Powell and Hayden Eely to change plans for the big day

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Union Bay water plant now finished

Work allows health authority to lift boil water advisory

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read