ELIM, Alaska — Jessie Royer held steady in 15th place as the longtime Montana musher arrived at the Elim checkpoint Tuesday night in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Royer, who had 12 dogs, was running alongside friend and rival Aliy Zirkle of Two Rivers, Alaska, who had 10. Royer and Zirkle are the top two women in the event.
Elim is 171 miles from the finish under the burled arch in Nome.
"Traveling with Aliy right now," Royer texted 406mtsports.com Tuesday night. "We ran through a whiteout getting to Elim. Just going from marker to marker, high wind and new blowing snow. Always a fun time."
Joar Leifsuth Ulsom of Norway continued to lead and had left the White Mountain checkpoint, 77 miles from Nome. Ulsom is the only musher who had departed White Mountain as of 8:15 p.m. (MDT) on Tuesday.
Royer had spent most the race in the top 10 until a slow day Sunday in which she described her dogs as "flat". The Ennis product, who has lived outside of White Sulphur Springs, Philipsburg and Darby, finished fifth last year and fourth in 2015.
Great Falls rookie Brett Bruggeman moved up to 41st place and was between Unalakleet and Shaktoolik on Tuesday night.