In pictures: Alaska's premier dogsled race - Al Jazeera English

In pictures: Alaska's premier dogsled race

Each year, mushers and their dog teams race from Anchorage to Nome, often facing blizzards and gale-force winds.

Every March, mushers and their team of 16 dogs descend upon Alaska to traverse the chilly state in order to win dog sledding's premier race known as Iditarod.

The race, which has grown from an obscure contest many considered a one-time lark into a world-famous, big-money sports extravaganza, began in Anchorage on Saturday this year and will finish in the Bering Sea town of Nome.

Winners, who must race through blizzards causing whiteout conditions, sub-zero temperatures and gale-force winds, have reached Nome in about nine days in recent years.