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Training Course

As always, the 2025 training course takes place immediately before the MYAU. It is organized by Jessie Gladish and friends.

A local course offers you the opportunity to do survival training and the race in one trip. Other advantages of participating in a course in the Yukon are:

  • you give yourself some time for acclimatization.
  • for the outdoor parts of the course you are on similar trails you will be on during the MYAU.
  • the courses are organized 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.

The course aims at teaching you the skills to become confident and proficient at working in cold temperatures allowing you to maximize your potential in the MYAU or similar events and expeditions.

Overview “MYAU Pre-Race Workshop” – by Jessie Gladish

This course is organized by Jessie Gladish. The instructor team includes Jessie and Gillian Smith, all of whom have finished the race several times. Also, part of the course with his expertise is Fabian Schmitz, owner of Bushcraft Yukon. Past workshop participants will be participating as well, on the course’s private facebook group.

For 2025 the course offers an online component, which includes the facebook group, weekly to biweekly discussion topics, and three meetings held online in a group format. The full course includes all online benefits plus four days in Whitehorse – a great opportunity to learn and practice all the skills and gain confidence before the main event.

Here are the full details provided by Jessie and her team:

What you can expect from this pre-race workshop:

  1. Learn from the hard-won knowledge of MYAU race veterans who have accumulated thousands of hours in the Yukon wilderness and on the MYAU trail.
  2. Receive detailed trail notes and briefings that have been prepared based on our personal experience on the MYAU trail.
  3. Receive help with your race strategy, whether you are trying to “go fast” or “simply finish”. The team have different race strengths and experience and will openly share what we have learnt.
  4. Access to a private facebook group as soon as you sign up, to discuss various race topics and questions as they arise.
  5. Visit Muktuk Adventures for lunch and see the sled dogs! Then travel the ‘old route’ from Muktuk Kennels to the Overland Trail, where we will set up a camp for the night and bivy as a group. The overnight is a great way to learn and better plan your strategy for race day. The trail will be similar to what the race trail is like.
  6. Practice all the essential skills you will need for the race i.e. lighting stoves, making fire, setting up your bivy, resting in your bivy. This will be done during the day and night.
  7. Gear check and advice prior to the race.
  8. Plenty of opportunity to chat with instructors.

Our goal is for you to have an enjoyable experience regardless of what happens on race day! We are all passionate about the trail, the race and the entire MYAU family.

Detailed Itinerary 2024/2025 Online Module

Workshop organizer & instructor: Jessie Gladish
Instructors: Fabian Schmitz, Gillian Smith

Topics we will cover between online and in person:

  • Rules & mandatory gear
  • Personal responsibility & accountability
  • Medical emergencies
  • Personal first aid/self-care
  • Spot device, In Reach and satellite phones
  • Overflow
  • Mental strength
  • Food/water
  • Packing tips
  • Layering
  • Training
  • Race strategy
  • The Yukon – weather/temps, remoteness, emergencies, & trail access points
  • The routes: 340 & 650
  • Navigation
  • Bivy system
  • Stove – how to use, maintenance, troubleshooting
  • Footwear
  • Gear
  • Animals of the Yukon
  • Trapline information & safety
  • Trail etiquette
  • Fire lighting/building a quality wood fire

Meeting #1 (2.5 hours):

  • Intro: Jessie, Gillian, Fabian – followed by all participants.
  • Training
  • Responsibility
  • Gear – mandatory gear overview
  • Rules
  • Footwear
  • Travel: flights/airlines, hotels, insurance for travel & race
  • Questions

Meeting #2 (2.5 hrs):

  • Bivy systems
  • Stove/fuel
  • Clothing layers
  • Headlamps, batteries, electronics, battery packs, etc
  • Mental strength
  • Questions

Meeting #3 (2.5 hrs):

  • The Yukon – remoteness, environment, climate, etc.
  • Spot, InReach, sat phones
  • Travel plans
  • Workshop plan – overview/questions

2. Itinerary in-person module, January 26th-29th, 2025

Whitehorse, Yukon

January 26th, 2025 – Day One

Transport from downtown Whitehorse to hostel


  • Review agenda for the day/weekend
  • Introductions
  • Waivers
  • Housekeeping: hostel rules, hot springs use/location, coffee shop location & hours, room assignments, internet, etc



  • Rental gear handout
  • Kit check (all mandatory gear must be present)
  • Stove lighting, bivy set up, & sled/bike packing demo – at least one instructor will go through their set up systematically, and then participants will find a spot to set up their own.
  • We will go for a short walk (~1.5 hrs) from the hostel to test sleds and rental gear.


  • Dinner
  • During dinner we will review the plan for the next day.

January 27th , 2025 – Day Two



  • Powerpoint:
    • Trail description – detailed for all distances
    • Etiquette on the trail
    • Weather forecast for today and tomorrow
    • Navigation – lesson on map reading which will be a hands-on lesson in the afternoon



  • Pack full kit for a sled pull.
  • We will be gone until dinnertime so bring water/snacks.


  • Sled pull from overland trail into the hills (~20 min drive to trailhead)
  • Fire starting demo by instructors
  • Fire starting practice for all participants
  • Stove lighting
  • Navigation exercise


  • Dinner
  • Free time after dinner

January 28th, 2025 – Day Three (day trip)



  • Powerpoint
    • Overflow
    • Extreme cold – revisit medical issues and emergency scenarios
    • Animal encounters
    • Stove maintenance lesson – Fabian


  • Light snacks provided
  • Pack your sleds and be 100% ready to go by 2pm (full afternoon and night out, with late lunch provided at Muktuk; ***bring your own trail meal for dinner***)
  • You will need fuel, your stove, matches, firestarter, water, spare layers, full sleeping system – we are spending the night and will not be back at the hostel until about 7-8am.
  • This is a mock race day/night without the pressure of being timed or on a schedule, but the idea is to ‘do you’ and figure out a pace that works for the temp and manage your own breaks and layers. There is no expectation to keep up with the group and there are no ‘winners’.
  • Pack everything you are planning to bring to the race (for food just bring what you need for snacks + your trail dinner).


  • Pick-up/transport to Muktuk Adventures (approx. half hour drive)
  • Anyone who is joining us just for the day trip will be picked up at the Sternwheeler Hotel (downtown Whitehorse) and brought out to Muktuk.

Lunch provided by Muktuk at their lodge


  • Leave for Old Dawson Trail
  • The stretch is about 25 km – it can take 4-6 hours depending on pace; it is all frozen river travel and then the last ~5km is in the forest.
  • The group can spread out so be prepared to be alone. An instructor will be at the very back and the very front, and one somewhere in the middle. We will have a snowmobile for support, and a well-marked trail leading to where we will finish. An instructor will be at the bivy area and show everyone where to go to set up camp.


  • Approximate arrival at our camping location – it will be dark!
  • On arrival find a spot to set up your bivvy (remember what you learned about choosing a spot – make sure it is a good spot to actually sleep)
  • Have your trail meal, light a fire, and get into your bivy
  • Be prepared to spend the night and not be able to sleep – bring a book!

January 29th, 2025 – Day Four


  • Transport back to hostel – unpack, warm up, dry out
  • Breakfast


  • Debrief trail outing and address any gear concerns/malfunctions/etc.
  • Problem solving exercise on mistakes & solutions



  • Powerpoint: Medical discussion with Gillian – cold injuries (frostbite), hypothermia, other common trail issues. First aid/self-care.
  • Feedback forms to participants
  • Revisit any area of concern and/or cover anything we haven’t touched on

Free time


  • Dinner
  • Group hot springs soak
  • Please be ready to move out in the morning by 11am

***If anyone wishes to be in town tonight instead of the next morning, we can accommodate this***

January 30th, 2025 – Last Morning


  • Breakfast
  • Clean up


  • Transport to town
  • Hotels may allow early check-in or hold onto gear until you can – sleds can stay in the U-Haul until check in
  • There are nice places to have lunch in town and walk around/shop


Full course (online group/meetings): CAD 1,300.00 (minimum of 6 participants)
Online only (online Facebook group/meetings): CAD 200.00
Day trip only (including transport): CAD 200.00
Day trip only (excluding transport): CAD 100.00

For more information on the training course and booking it, please contact Jessie at