Training Courses

There are two training courses available in the Yukon. Both take place immediately before the MYAU. This offers you the opportunity to do a course and the race on one trip. Other advantages of participating in a course in the Yukon are:

  • you give yourself some time for acclimatisation
  • for the outdoor parts of the course you are on the same or same type of trails you will be on during the MYAU
  • the courses are organised by people with substantial race and Yukon specific winter survival skills

If time and budget allow for it you can of course also do a course one winter and then come back to do the MYAU the next winter.

Both courses aim at teaching you the skills to become confident and proficient at working in cold temperatures allowing you to maximise your potential in the MYAU or similar events and expeditions.

Overview „Survive to Race“ – by Stewart Stirling

This course will be run with a maximum of ten people and is geared towards those entering or intending to enter the MYAU. However, it is also open to anybody doing other winter ultra events or expeditions as the skills of course are not just required for the MYAU.

Time: January 23rd – 27th, 2020

It is a four day course and will include a full night out on part of the trail that will be used in the actual MYAU. Participants will be given maximum time outdoors during the course to become acclimatised and become familiar with the equipment they will use on the MYAU. Evening lectures and discussions can include motivation and what can go wrong. The course is flexible and will cater for the demands of the participants where possible. It is not designed to be physically over demanding. It is not a boot camp!

Cyclists are welcome as many of the learning outcomes taught will be required in the race. The course will be based on foot and ski travel. If you are a cyclist and require further information please contact Stewart directly.

It will be an opportunity to become familiar with the equipment to be carried and used on the MYAU whilst acclimatising. The main topics to be covered in the four days will be:

  • Equipment, clothing, footwear and outerwear – Layering for “dry cold”, finding out what works for you in the Yukon, how much to carry and find out what you don’t need
  • Shelter, bivvy, tent or tarp and a chance to become familiar with, and adapt, your own shelter for maximum warmth • Nutrition – Effects of cold on calorific intake, hydration, how to plan your food
  • Cold weather first aid and hygiene – Recognising cold injuries, prevention of immersion foot, frostbite and hypothermia, what to include in a first aid kit
  • Sled/pulk and harness set up – Become acquainted with your pulk and harness, correct fitting of harness and alternative set ups
  • Operating in extreme temperatures -General awareness of cold conditions, how they affect your body, tips on reducing cold effects, melting snow
  • Stoves and cooking – Introduction to the Primus stove, other stoves, lighting and maintenance, use of stove boards
  • Emergency shelter construction and fire lighting – Simple emergency shelters, simple fire starting techniques

Accommodation is at Braeburn Lake and which is a semi wilderness setting along the trail used in the MYAU. Accommodation will either be in traditional log cabins or heated wall tents shared by four. Camp life will not be luxurious with the maximum amount of time spent outside as possible.

For more details, information on cost and booking of the course please go to

Overview „MYAU Pre-Race Workshop“ – by Shelley Gellatly

This course is organised by Shelley Gellatly and she gets support from Jessie Thomson-Gladish, Gillian Smith and other MYAU veterans.

Time: January 23rd – 27th, 2020

As aspiring MYAU racers, you can take this opportunity to learn and benefit from the hard won knowledge of MYAU race veterans. This includes receiving detailed notes about the trail and checkpoints that can help you plan your race strategy as well as pre-race online discussions.

Race preparation starts well before you arrive in Whitehorse! And as such, so does this workshop.

Starting in August 2019, participants will have access to a private facebook group where workshop facilitators will share ideas on various race topics, along with answering questions as they arise. You will be asked to do some “homework” prior to arriving and this time will be used to smooth out as many of your systems as you can.

The 4.5 day workshop will take place at the Takhini Hot Springs Hostel, about a 35 min. drive from downtown Whitehorse. Accommodation is shared (2 people per room).

Food, transfers and accommodation are provided.

A minimum of 6 people will be required for the workshop to run, and is limited to 10 racers total.

Deadline for registration: Dec. 21st, 2019.

Workshop Fee: $1,200 CDN (includes GST)

Assistance with training program development is also available upon request.

If you do not require a full survival course but would like to participate in the online discussions, receive the detailed trail notes and take part in our trail overview presentation or the last day hike and bivy session, this is possible, too. The price for this is CAD 350.

This is what’s included in the full 4.5 day training program:

  • Transport from Whitehorse to Takhini Hotsprings Hostel
  • Accommodation at Takhini Hotsprings Hostel (2 people per room)
  • Meals (participants will need to bring snacks for the trail and two trail meals)
  • Information sessions as outlined below
  • Gear check and recommendations
  • Day and night hikes with fully loaded sled including opportunities to light stove, make a wood fire, bivy, melt water and cook
  • Daily access to Takhini Hotsprings
  • Visit to Muktuk Kennels (1st checkpoint) and walk along the MYAU route
  • Advice from race veterans/volunteers on what has worked and not worked for themselves and others in the past

Click here to download the itinerary.

For more information and to sign up please email Shelley at