spring skis

Winter has stuck around a bit longer than usual this year. The snow on the trails is now too rotten to run large teams of dogs--- hooks won't hold. So instead of running three or four dog teams on familiar trails, I've been taking ski trips into the woods and letting the dogs run loose. We make our own trails. There is upwards of four feet of snow in the woods still, crusted over and hard. The overflow on the lakes has risen and frozen, leaving half an inch to an inch of snow to ski on--just perfect. I laugh watching the dogs explore and try not to tip over.

Pea, Leo & Robber in the woods.
Most of my spills occur trying to take pictures of the dogs.
Robber in the evening sunshine.
Pea and Robber chasing me down the hill; poor Leo struggles to catch up.  
Poodle in the woods. 
Goofy girl. 
Sunset in the swamp.
fell over backwards on a hill and got myself stuck pretty good. i guess Robber thought i took too long to get up... he made himself a nest under a tree and went to bed...

cool burls in the old growth forest.
sweet little Linnea. The smallest dog on my team, ~30 lbs. 
Lisbet & Pea
Alpenglow on the distant Talkeetna Mts.
Group photo: Lisbet, Pea, Linnea, & Leo



I got a new pet this week--- a yearling named Pea. Found unexpectedly in her mom's dog house one morning last winter, Pea has always been a little "special." She is the sweetest thing. She's very touchy, very clumsy, likes to snuggle and use her paws to pet you. She and her peers were recently harness-broken and it was clear Pea did not have the coordination gifted to the rest of the bunch. So, she's going to make the move from outside dog to inside dog. I need a companion. We went for a ski and I had Pea off-leash.. She's very attentive and sticks right by my side--- a Siberian that sticks around ?!  Very special indeed.
Princess & her Pea
Pea as a puppy
Yearling Pea.
Lisbet & Pea
Leo & Pea, out for a walk.


Pete & co.


new sponsor: PROTEX


Welcome to the team!

Protex has sponsored me with a great new pair of Femund Boots --- the newest dog mushing boot to hit the market.  I've used the boots since February and did two races with them: the Goose Bay 150 and the Sheep Mountain 300. Here are my thoughts regarding their performance:

The Femund Boot
Protex is the same company that makes the wildly popular Polar Lobben boots, often used in conjunction with overshoes. With the new boot, Protex has modified the design of the Polar Lobben to make a boot even more suitable for dog mushers--- no curled toe, a no-slip tongue, reinforced sole, and an easy, fast lace-up system.  I wear the same size Femund boot as I do regular Lobbens--- and am able to wear a full size smaller in overshoes (L to M). This makes walking, peddling --- everything--- so much easier!! I feel unbelievably light and free with this shoe system---no more clunking around in too-big overboots for this girl.

Warm feet are dry feet
To stay warm, feet need room to move and breathe. This is why boots from Protex are so warm---not because they are super insulated---but because they are made out of breathable wool. Dry feet are warm feet, and wool transports moisture away from your body. And herein lies my only concern with the Femund boot---I think the leather added to reinforce the shoe may absorb more moisture into the boot than if it were made only of wool. In comparison with the Polar boot, moisture in the Femund boot was noticeable. However, compared to bunny boots, Baffin boots, or Sorels, moisture in the Femund boot is practically a non-issue. As I understand it, the leather modification was added to address a weak point along the sole (an issue I have never experienced) and increase the overall longevity of the boot. In any case, the advantages to using the Femund boot far outweigh the one and only detraction. I had no problem on the 150, and on the 300 I was able to combat boot moisture by regularly changing socks (something I do anyway) and taking advantage of wood stoves and toyo heaters at checkpoints to dry boots. Being able to move freely and still have warm feet is a hard balance to find---and the Femund boot is the closest I've ever gotten. To top it all off, the boot is trimmed in paw print ribbon and has the beautiful blue and orange Femundløpet logo on the outside. The embroidered name is optional-- but a good idea.  I fully expect more than a few mushers to jump on the Femundlabben Bandwagon -- and knowing which pair of boots in front of the woodstove is yours might come in handy ;)

Regarding sizing
Due to the round toe, there is not quite as much room in the Femund boot as there is in the Polar boot. As such, the company recommends you size up. I found this to be true; I ordered the same size I normally use in Lobbens and noticed a tighter fit. However, the boots stretched with use, which has been my previous experience with Lobbens. I can now comfortably fit two to three pairs of socks inside, but would recommend sizing up at time of purchase, as Protex suggests. With the Polar boot, I automatically size up three sizes from my regular shoe size (38 to 41). With the Femund boots I would do four sizes (38 to 42). In Norway it is quite common for mushers to size up even more to accommodate special felted wool socks (called kartanker). I have a pair of size 44 Polar boots (A men's 10 1/2 !) to use with this type of liner.  However, as these felted socks are not commonly available in the US, four sizes up should be enough for most people to wear two to three layers of socks with room to spare.

I am super happy with the Femund boots and anticipate spending many thousands of miles in them next season.  If all goes well, I fully expect these boots to accompany me on the 2014 Iditarod... racing from Willow to Nome !!

Femundlobben are available for purchase from Protex's web shop: 



Boys being boys! --- Gustav, Robber, Blackie Lou, Frigg, Major 
Blackie Lou & Frigg
A bright spring day -- Blackie Lou in lead, Gustav in hot pursuit.
Wes has a roll in the snow
Wild Wes


qualifiers completed...

Happy to announce all my qualifiers have been completed... Iditarod 2014 --- here I come !!

2013 Race Recap coming soon....


La Grande Odyssée


I would LOVE to do this race one day !


breaking trail

Some pictures from one of our last training runs before the Sheep Mountain 300. 2 feet of new snow, fresh trail & a bit of sunshine made for a really nice, fun run. I was proud of how well the dogs did in the deep snow... good honest workers, the whole lot. I had Robber in lead with Ruby. He is a Kozy son and always impresses me with his good cheer & work ethic. He has not had much experience in lead, but from what I can tell---he loves it! He seems like a natural leader... very forward oriented, automatically lines out. When I stop and make my way up to the front of the team, he jumps up for a hug, happy in the moment.

Ruby & Robber
L-shaped Lake
Leaders Robber & Ruby
Silly boys Victor & Pete in swing
Brothers: Pelle & Papas
Sweet little girls Daphne & Linnea
Major & Jackie
Big boys Frigg & Doc in wheel.
Taking a break by Ruth Lake. 12 happy dogs.
Haw!  Good dogs! 
Ruby at rest.
Patient Pete. 
and the musher... representing Team Skogen (the 1984 Anadyr Iditarod Team)