Team and Trail
Long distance sled dog races, or just trips by dogteam... My goal with this blog is simply to help support the history, spirit, passion and love for dog teams and the trails they run.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No 2009 Iditarod Shows

Reports are coming in that the Discovery Channel will not be covering the 2009 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race:

BSSD IditaProject
Let's give a special thank you to the Discovery Channel. They certainly didn't skimp on the production values (and related costs) while providing the Iditarod and Mushing an outstanding forum. I'm sure they wanted it to succeed and to become an annual program in their lineup as much as we did, but the numbers didn't work. I'm grateful that they gave "us" their best shot, and I'm sad that it didn't work out.

Buser's Happy Trails Kennels
We wished they would have tried one more season. Seems that everyone involved learned a lot since it was the first experience with that kind of filming.

Feedback can be sent to: Discovery Communications Inc. | One Discovery Place | Silver Spring, MD 20910 or fill out the feedback form on their website.

happy trails~~~

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New YouTube Video Clips

We've uploaded another video clip of Lance, this time talking pretty candidly about how his team starts out a little slow, sometimes taking an hour or so to get into gear... And he comments on what he'd like to see if he's still in the game 30 years from now!

Our friend Donna Quante of Husky Productions added a wonderful music video from her new DVD, "See You in Nome!" about 2008 rookie musher Sven Haltmann. The original music by Kyf Brewer makes this one a must-see!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sled Dog Races and Economic Realities

Anchorage Daily News sports writer Craig Medred shares some astute observations about the sport of sled dog racing in an article about challenges facing the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race from Bethel to Aniak. While the piece focuses on a race official's embezzlement of funds, what Craig includes at the end of the article is perhaps the most compelling. He quotes Myron Angstman, the Kusko race chairman, and adds commentary:

"I would say all dog racing in Alaska faces a challenge,'' Angstman said. "The economy is a big issue.''

So is the ever-growing cost of participation. It costs tens of thousands to maintain a dog team and now, often as not, thousands more to enter a major race.

"There are a few people doing really well in doing dog mushing,'' Angstman said, and a lot of others struggling with the realization they've developed an extremely expensive hobby. Some are getting out.

"There is a drop off in participation in rural Alaska,'' he said. "The economics of it are certainly magnified in rural Alaska in some ways. Travel is becoming virtually prohibitive."

There has been some discussion of this growing dilemma on mushers' blogs and websites, and in forums frequented by race fans. Developments like the still-increasing Iditarod entry fee have sparked questions of where - financially - to draw the line. There was optimism that the Discovery Channels' new series, Toughest Race on Earth: Iditarod would inspire renewed enthusiasm in mushers and fans alike, and to some extent that has happened. But the harsh economic realities of the sport are only beginning to be understood. And then there's another reality, less talked about, but perhaps of even more concern, which Angstman points out:

"... In our area, we don't have many young people taking part anymore. You need a feeder system. It is such a labor-intensive, commitment-intensive sport.''

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Discovery Channel's Iditarod Pages

If you've been watching the Discovery Channel's Iditarod program each week, be sure to check out the Discovery Channel's special web pages dedicated to the show.

Check out biographical sketches of each musher, explore a map detailing the Iditarod Trail, watch video highlights, check out the anatomy of a dogsled and learn about the Iditarod athletes. There are even jigsaw puzzles and a fun quiz about the race - great entertainment while waiting impatiently for the last episode!

Monday, November 17, 2008

BSSD's IditaProject

Bering Sea Ice, March, 2008, photo by Helen Hegener, Northern Light Media

Those who followed the Bering Strait School District's Iditaproject last spring will be happy to know this year's plans are well under way:

Iditarod Working Weekend - Going to the Dogs!
November 17th, 2008

Educators from around the district met in Unalakleet this past weekend (November 7-9, 2008) to organize, develop, and compile lessons and thematic units on the Iditarod. For the last six years, BSSD staff and students have included the Iditarod sled dog race as part of an annual thematic learning event called IditaProject. This working weekend was designed to provide staff the opportunity to work together and create quality Iditarod activities and lesson plans tied directly to BSSD standards at every instructional level and in as many content areas as possible. We have quite a growing list of resources and ready-to-teach lesson plans available on our Wiki site. Go to Iditarod Thematic Unit and scroll down to 'Collaborative Instructional Units'.

Read more at the links above!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The title of this blog

When I was trying to find a title for this blog I wandered all over the place trying on names. Some were too cute, others too formal, some too oblique, others too familiar. I've always liked the name Team and Trail, and I hadn't heard the phrase in connection with any form of communications in quite a while. I knew there used to be a publication by that name, I have many back issues of it, but as far as I can determine it's gone out of print. A little searching turned up an interesting article from the Anchorage Daily News which informed me that one of last year's rookies, Deborah Bicknell, is the former publisher's daughter. I checked out Deborah's website and - sure enough! - there are photos of old issues of the original Team and Trail magazine. Sadly, it also notes that Deborah is retiring from racing.

Continuing the search, I found what must've been the publication's website, but there's nothing there except one of those ubiqitous "site under construction" graphics. I found an article from the magazine, "An Introduction to Sled Dog Sports," on a sled dog tours site in Sweden.

So, satisfied that I wasn't stepping on any currently active toes, I named this blog. If I've missed something in the process, please advise.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Welcome to Team and Trail!

As stated in our header note, this site/blog is dedicated to long distance sled dog races, or just trips by dogteam, and our goal is to keep alive the history, the spirit, the passion, and the love for dog teams and the trails they run, not as any kind of comprehensive collection, but just as a place to collect the blogs and websites and other resources we find useful for research, and to make them available to anyone interested.

Whether you're a champion musher, a hardcore fan, or a newcomer to mushing and just learning the ropes, we hope this site will become a reliable source of support and resources, news and information, networking and friendships. You won't find every little thing about long distance mushing here, but we hope you'll find enough to return again and again, and to let your friends know about this resource.

So what's with the guy on the horse? That's just a childhood favorite of mine, the singing cowboy Roy Rogers, a fellow who knew a thing or two about trails. As he often sang - and it always left me feeling good when he did - Happy Trails to You!