There is no U.S. state that has Alaska’s extremes. With towering snowcapped mountains year-round, creeping glaciers, the midnight sun, and all-day darkness, the Alaskan landscape can be as chilling as it is captivating.
Beyond the topography and elements, the people and the culture have their own unique draw. One of the quintessential sports in Alaska is dogsledding.
Dogsledding once was a primary mode of transportation for many Alaskans and helped secure mail routes and other freight movements in Alaska. The snowmobile changed Alaska’s reliance on dogs, but mushers still use their teams of dogs for transportation, hauling, and fun. For those who book by January 1, 2019, you will get your fill of the latter with a free dogsled tour by Heather Siirtola.
Heather is a four-time Iditarod veteran who has made dogsledding a way of life. The Iditarod is a 1,000-mile race from Anchorage, in south-central Alaska, to Nome, on the western Bering Sea. It traces a course through rough terrain made of mountains, rivers, forests, tundra, and coastline.
It is known for its brutal intensity that comes from the combination of the weather, terrain, distance, and strategy.
Heather offers tours of her facility and a chance to meet her dogs. When asked about what makes sled dogs special Heather told us, “Sled dogs are unique, not only being work dogs of yesteryear but can cover more mileage faster than most other animals in the wild.” She brings 18 years of sledding experience and a team of dogs that areraring to go. Always ready to go partly because Heather told us it is not uncommon for her dogs to have acupuncture and massage done on them.