Brent Sass leads Yukon Quest after race's first day

Sass, winner of the 2015 race, posted the fastest time to the Mile 101 checkpoint. He's followed by Hugh Neff and Allen Moore, both former winners of the 1,600-kilometre race. Dave Dalton currently sits in fourth, while Yukoner Ed Hopkins, who finished third in 2015 is in fifth place.

Three former Quest winners sit in top 5 in race's early stages

Musher Tony Angelo departs the starting line of the Yukon Quest sled dog race in Fairbanks, Alaska, Saturday. (Julien Schroder/Yukon Quest)

Alaska musher Brent Sass is the early leader after the first day of racing in the year's Yukon Quest.

Sass, the winner of the 2015 race, posted the fastest time to the Mile 101 checkpoint.

He's followed by Hugh Neff and Allen Moore, both former winners of the 1,600-kilometre race. Dave Dalton currently sits in fourth, while Yukoner Ed Hopkins, who finished third in 2015, is in fifth place.

As of Sunday morning, 16 of the 23 mushers were resting at the Mile 101 checkpoint. Mushers must take a four-hour layover at either Mile 101 or at Central, Alaska, 45 kilometres down the trail.

Organizers described trail conditions as "fast and favourable."

While temperatures have dropped since Saturday's start, organizers said there's minimal ice on the trail and a small amount of fresh snow makes travel easier for the dogs.

This year's Yukon Quest travels from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse. The first mushers are projected to arrive in Dawson City – the race's approximate halfway point – on Wednesday, where they will take a mandatory 36-hour break.

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