Rebecca Baxter, Team Northwest Territories, hooking up her team for training and getting ready to go
Photo By Dawn Fitzpatrick
The Arctic Winter Games dog mushers had their first official meeting Sunday after Saturday’s snowfall at the Peninsula Dog Track on Funny River Road, Soldotna.
The race rules were reviewed by Bill Waddell, race marshal, while Phil Hoekman, trail boss, went over the trail details for the drivers and handed out trail maps. The trail is in good condition and “suicide hill was fixed last year and it shouldn’t be a problem” for the class that runs that trail section, according to Hoekman.
“The temperature is warm for the dogs,” said junior driver, Sophie Daniels from Team Yukon after her training run. “It is a nice trail but slow” because of the new snow. Her team had no snow for training until December.
Daniels has been racing for eight years and began running dogs 11 years ago. Her interest in dogs began because her mom, Marie, ran trap lines. She qualified for the Games in December tryouts at Haines Junction, Yukon and placed 1st. This outgoing, redheaded driver is 17 years old, lives in Whitehorse, and is participating in the Games for her third and final time.
Charmaine Christiansen, also from Team Yukon, comes from Dawson, Yukon. She became interested in running dogs when a neighbor asked her sister to help with his dogs. Her “sister helped once but didn’t like it,” said Christiansen. She took over helping and has been running dogs for 10 years now. She placed 1st at Dawson, Yukon, to qualify for Games and said she has also raced in Alaska before.
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