Friday, January 30, 2009

Photos from the Trail - Dave Mondor

Dogs' Version: Wheel dog to team "hey guys, look, look he's finally got off!" Leader in response "about time, it's only because there's a camera"

Official version: Asha hauls Jon Lucas and his slightly more aerodynamic new jacket to victory - against opposition this time!
Asha's version: "What a poseur, do you think you could actually help out a bit, or will that crease your nice new jacket? and where's my portion of the prize money? eh? eh?"

Official Version: Laura Jane Lucas pegs up the final slope with Team Pompom, Crazy Sammy and Grey in lead, with Bigg Ronnie powering behind Grey
Team version: Sammy "I swear I'm gonna eat that red thing if we have to wear these again" Bigg Ronnie "I'm gonna eat something fleshy if it comes near me again. Sure we're an all girl team, but enough's enough"

Kyla Boivin's dogs run ever faster in a desperate attempt to break free of her singing
Dogs' version: Leader "Run away, Run away!" Wheel dog "I can fly, fly fly away, I wanna be on Santa's sled" Team dog "How did I get on 'Mushing get me out of here?' "

Valentine's day Special - Duffy's Pets and Tanzilla Harness Supply Race Day

at 10am, Sunday 8th at Icy Waters Ltd

Cash prizes from Duffy's Pets - the first Company to donate a prize to the Twister long long ago in Spring 2005!; Merchandise from Yukon Brewing - the ever popular glass wrapped t shirts; Icy Waters Ltd Arctic Charr - Bib and $1000 sponsor of the Yukon Quest and putting up about $400 of cash and Charr for the intrepid skijorers of the Percy Junior in March; Yukon Agricultural Association - cotton T-shirts, the real deal; First Mate/Taplow dog foods - dog food!! Aurora Booties - booties and dog collars; Midnight Sun Alpacas' cosy warm socks; and C&D Feeds, who's response to Champion Feeds (Acana, Origen) telling them to raise prices 8% was "stuff you, we're not passing that on!" - thank you very much! and yet another beautifully inscribed not-so-red lantern.

Don't forget our new printers Inkspirationz  Graphics and EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd.

And of course the Yukon Golden Bubbly for all the kissing couples at the start and finish line, great cookies for every kid in the, erm, kids race, and 10 blocks of Arctic Charr dog food to the best Valentine decorated team.

Not racing would be uncool, and just downright unfair to your dogs!! ahem, unless you are volunteering :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yes indeedy! the Duffy's Pets and Tanzilla Harness Supply Race Day, Sunday Feb 8th has been decreed a Valentine's Day Race!!

Expect decorations in the offices, at the start line, and plenty of ballons around the trail - GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING - do not eat the balloons. As Michelle Phillips once said, "I guess you have to tell mushers that", yes Michelle, but not skijorers because as the last race clearly showed they are so much smarter. Yes indeed. Ahem.

Please feel free to join in, and the best decorated entrant/sled will win an awful lot of dog food from Icy Waters Ltd - 10 blocks of dog food, to be collected at your convenience!!

The CHT Org coffers still have some $$ so we will be paying Yukon Brewing a visit for some of their "Golden Bubbly" - and every entrant that gets a kiss off the start line from someone of the same species (kissing dogs does not count) and is greeted by the same kisser with a kiss on their return (or as soon as poss after finishing in the case of partners in the same race) will receive 2 bottles of the Valentine's Day Yukon Golden Bubbly!!! All volunteers out on the trail will also recieve a bottle, just do what cupid suggests out there and don't tell us about it.

Valentine's Day Race, Sunday 8th Feb, Musher's Meeting and Registration 10 am Icy Waters Ltd, km 4.2 Fish Lake Rd.

12 mile CHT - sleds 2-5 dogs; skis 2-3 dogs
5km Kids - sleds 2-4 dogs; skis 1-2 dogs
5km 1 Pet Dog - erm 1 pet dog, attached to you, you can even put the wee doggie in your jacket (once you've crossed the start line) and run/ski like mad - anything goes, so long as the dog is connected to you and is on the snow at the start line and crosses the finish line on the snow.

Rule Lectures to come:

Let people past when they call Trail rather than looking over your shoulder and saying "no way!" 

Give the passing team 1 minute to untangle after being passed, rather than gliding past smiling and watching the tangle become horrendous as the tangled team tries to chase you, and their snow hook loosens... - 

Jeez guys, c'mon think about it!!

Any Skijorer on the start line with metal edged skis that have not been previously (very blunt, half metalled skis may be acceptable) cleared by the Race Marshall shall not be allowed to start FULL STOP and thanks for your entry fee.

Gloves (Human Booties) Mandatory for Skijorers

Snow hooks or any other such sharp pointy stuff banned for skijorers. Too easy for it to embed in a dog or person during a crash at up to 20+ mph.

Booties for the team (12 mile + kids) must be shown to the Race Marshall at the start line.

Phew, hope we can all live with that, it's all for safety and dog welfare, and the organisers, not the mushers, tend to be asked the hard questions after injuries occur.

Have fun at the Carbon Hill this Sunday and see you all at Icy Waters Ltd on the 8th!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Skijoring 101

Aptly titled  "On the way Down" by photographer Dave Mondor, here we can inspect often committed, but rarely seen,  aspects of skijoring that earn them the title of "The Village Idiots of the Mushing World" (and thank you for that one Ms. Rogan). Jon however, who does this sort of thing all the time, maintains it's simply good training to practice how to fall properly with minimum pain quotient, as he contends "Look, I'm gonna fall lots, so I might as well get the technique right so I don't break too much".

In the above case, though, the intrepid skijorer, appears to have made some cardinal errors (they were cardinal by the time he got back)
No gloves: impact with crusty hard trail removes outer covering (usually replaceable gloves), in this case skin.
Heavy double pole on icy start line whilst 4 dogs heave-ho = unbalancing act that Vince Federoff gleefully snaps up for a Whiehorse Star front cover.
You can just see if you look hard where the wheel dogs tugs join the gangline - a modified three-pronged garden rake as a snow hook. Hmmm, sharp exposed metal pointy stuff and skijoring, not a mix generally seen - Could this valiant skijorer be the CHT's "Darwin Awards" candidate - keep checking, he's in the Feb 8th Duffy's Pets and Tanzilla Harness Supply race!!

Copper Haul graduate

AileenRueckenbach looks back to the Stone Chute. Around the corner Jim Hajash's team gave chase. "It's not fair to let featherweights in the Twister," Jim said, coming up hard behind. "Now I know how people feel about Lee on the trail."

Jessica Simon photo
posted by yukonwriter

New Year Pooper Scoop

Left: Last weekend's Chinook brought out everybody and their dog to the first Copper Haul Twister of 2009, including the media who caught second-place skijorer Gaetan Pienard's demonstration of a perfect spider monkey sprawl. Or was that "brake"dancing? For those who doubt Gaetan's ability to stay upright, here's photographic evidence.

Below: Important lesson from the trail: Don't wave or say hello - EVEN IF THE MUSHER TALKS TO YOU FIRST! Frontrunner Jo van Randen made a series of graceful faceplants moments after giving me a friendly wave on her way into the final loop. And she wasn't the only one. Unfortunately, I was laughing so hard, I couldn't get pictures. Expect that to be remedied next month.

Recently graduated to the Twister Aileena Rueckenbach finished fourth this month, in spite of one dog slipping his harness. The free ranger trotted along behind for the entire 12 miles.

Among the brilliant starts and spectacular finishes of the Kids' 5 k race, Erin Spicer had the most excitement. Out of the chute with a clean start she passed Matt McHugh's homebound three-dog team, slipped around the corner and out of sight. Three minutes later her team came back riderless. A tough break, but wait 'til next month!

Finally, in the Pet Dog 5 k, Asha lined up with three challengers. Thank you Anissa Guenfoud, Heather Demarais and Michael Pealow for giving the Champ worthy competition. Catch the live action footage below.

Meet at Icy Waters at 10 a.m. February 8 for the next Copper Haul sponsored by Yukon Brewing, The Chocolate Claim, Duffy's Pets and Tanzilla Harness Supply, H Coyne & Sons, Oscars Electric, Alpine Vet, Icy Waters Ltd, Aurora Booties, Midnight Sun Alpacas, Dazhaw du Chiropractic Clinic, Yukon Agriculture Association, Taplow/First Mate Petfoods. Welcome to our new sponsors C&D Feeds, EBA Engineering and Inkspirations Graphix

posted by yukonwriter

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rule Additions

Yeah yeah, boring stuff:

Mandatory Gear for skijorers:

Skijoring belt


Gloves - as in booties for the skiorer. Yes indeed to protect skijorers from themselves, they will not be allowed to start without some sort of hand protection - ie glove.  

Seeing a skijorer leave on Sunday's trail without gloves, and come back with sticky red hands means the race organisers must step in and ensure at least an attempt at protection is made.

Mandatory gear for Kids 5km and 12 mile Twister

Booties - all entrants must show enough booties for all dogs in the team to the race marshall at the start line, and carry them through the race. Entrants cannot start without showing their booties. This includes skijorers (you can stuff them in your pockets if the dogs aren't wearing them). Race Committee/Marshall will decide if trail requires all dogs to be booted within 40 minutes of race start - eg on those rare occasions when the trail has a broken icy surface. If RM decrees it is a bootie race, all teams will be bootied, except Pet Dog Category, where booties will remain optional.

We had pink smears over the start line on Sunday, from unbootied harness bangers. The organisers believe this is not in the best interests of the sport.

Hopefully everyone realises that these measures are for the best interests of dog care, welfare, and the public image of the sport in general.

New Sponsors for the CHT!!

The ongoing poster printing has been assured by EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd (through Dave Desmarais - thanks!!) and Inkspirationz Graphix - look for their logos and use their services!!

C&D Feeds, 131 Copper Rd - have provided merchandise prizes for the February 8th "Valentines Special" Duffy's Pets Race Day - Straw and all your kennel needs!

A big thanks to them, and all our sponsors - Yukon Brewing, The Chocolate Claim, Duffy's Pets and Tanzilla Harness Supply, H Coyne & Sons, Oscars Electric, Alpine Vet, Icy Waters Ltd, Aurora Booties, Midnight Sun Alpacas, Dazhaw du Chiropractic Clinic, Yukon Agriculture Association, Taplow/First Mate Petfoods.

More details on the Valentines Day Duffy's Pets race day special later!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jeff Diment out of the chute

Jeff Diment's four dog team made a perfect start to a clean run in the Kids' 5 K race. His proud post-race comment was "In the loop I didn't even nick the tree where usually I whap my face right up against it."
Countdown: Timekeeper Greg Kent
Camera: Jessica Simon
posted by: yukonwriter

Win, Show and Place

Annisa Guenford and Cosmo skating, Larissa Reukenback sledding, Jonathan Lucas poling behind Asha to the Kids' and Pet Dog 5 K finish
Camera: Mike Simon

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dave Mondor - photos from the trail

Erin Spicer has fun with the sticky snow - "this team is much better behaved than my Dad's dogs"

Michael Pealow and Nanuq chasing down Asha, but she stays clear by 2 seconds

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Los Banditos sweep in again!!

Jo and Will Van Randen took 1st and 5th in today's Alpine Vet CHT, against 18 teams. Will, flush from his win in the Poker Run, took 5th, whilst Jo came in first, in +6'C heat! (and it's great for the sport as Jo and Will have always donated a nice proportion of their winnings to DPSAY - Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon - thank you!). Kyla Boivin was pleased with 2nd, whilst a hard working Tony Radford drove a Drag 'n' Fly Kennel team to third and Aileena Ruckenbach, 14 and weighing about 14 lbs, floated in to 4th!

This race was about 41'C warmer than the Oscar's Electric December race, and despite the ploughed trail, rain, and sun, the trail surface held up well, being firm, and downright slick fast in places.

Four kids battled it out over the 5km, with Jeff Diment leading with an excellent 11:28 run, and another 10 points for his move on the Kid's League.

Asha the Rottie proved she can race against opposition, coming 1st of four teams in the Pet Dog 5km and locking another 10 points into her Pet Dog League challenge.

12 Mile Twister, all 6 dog sleds unless stated otherwise

1 Jo Van Randen 58:30
2 Kyla Boivin 58:55
3 Tony Radford 59:04
4 Aileena Ruekenbach 1:01:29
5 Will Van Randen 1:01:34
6 Marie Claude 1:04:51
7 Darrel Sheepway 1:05:40 4 dog skis
8 Jim Hajash 1:06:38
9 Michelle Phillips 1:07:46
10 Valerie Bussieres 1:08:03
11 Claudia McPhee 1:08:16
12 Gaetan Pienard 1:10:07 4 dog skis
13 Melina Fontain 1:12:20
14 Matthieu Renner 1:12:45
15 Laura Jane Lucas 1:15:02
16 Alex Badino 1:16:54
17 Wendy Morrision 1:21:36 2 dog skis
18 Matt McHugh 1:39:32 3 dog skis

Erin Spicer gets ready to lead out the Kid's 5 km Race (photo Dave Mondor)

Kid's 5km Race, all 4 dog sleds unless ststed otehrwise

1 Jeff Diment 11:28
2 Keagan Hopkins 15:16 2 dog sled
3 Larissa Ruekenbach 25:08
4 Erin Spicer DNF

1 Pet-Dog 5km Race

1 Asha + Jon Lucas skis 17:08
2 ? + Michael Pealow kick-sled 17:10
3 Cosmo + Annisa Guenfoud skis 21:03
3 Keno + Heather Desmarais skis 26:27

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Alpine Vet Race is ON!!!

Trail in very good shape, firm and thick throughout, except for the first 1.5km. This was ploughed today, but after 2 hours of Jon shovelling snow back into it, it's just like November - packed and fast to the Quarry road, then thick and firm. Jon also had a polite chat with the plough driver who wondered who this idiot was frantically shovelling snow back over his nice cleared trail....all explained and discussed and the next time th blade will be a little higher.

Anyway, nice, safe and fast for the first 1.5 miles (even for skis, Jon's skijoring tomorrow so it is definately passable for skis!!), then lovely for the rest of the run.

Don't forget, there's a potluck at the results ceremony, and if anyone wants to bring anymore firewood, that would be great.

We await the mad weather puppy with trepidation....we got to +1'C at Icy Waters today, and scheduled for +2 tomorrow.

Remember the meeting is at 10.00am, Icy Waters Ltd

The Freeze holds on the CHT

12.50 on Saturday morning - the weather Network says +2 in Whitehorse, but it's 6'C colder up here on the Copper Haul at -4'C, and the forecast has dropped to +4 in Whitehorse on Sunday, which means we'll be about -2 to 0'C.

Harris Cox of the Klondike Snowmachine Association did a great job on the trail today, making a very nice 12' wide, smooth track.

It's  easily skate ski-able - even Jon could do it. However he found an interesting development - a week ago, on very steep hills he could walk up on skis with the dogs pulling, now that walking invoves a lot of slipping backwards, worse, tonight with a single dog skijor, he had to take the skis off half way up a steep hill to walk up it...thinking about the past month of grippy, sandpaper snow he let go of one ski as he took the other off...whooo..oooooo..ssss....hhhh bye bye ski, - to the bottom of the hill and beyond....

It's a hard packed trail, and getting firmer, should be fun!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Trail Report - Thursday 15th Jan

Laura Jane ran the soft snow of the CHT this morning - a soft but smooth trail; by the time Jon skijored out there this evening an incredibly clever person had driven their truck a mile past the Norcope quarry road, churning 4 tracks and a big mess at their multi-point point turn in the trail. 

Whilst it's still very negotiable it tends to cramp any skate ski-ing - however as I type Harris Cox of the KSA is out there putting things to rights and Jon will be dragging his faithful pallet (well, Jon's snowmachine actually, he doesn't go and pull the drag manually down the trail) to add some final polishing.

Temperatures up here on the Twister trail have reached the heady heights of -3'C, but still no positives; snow holding up very well.

Bathing costumes are optional for The Alpine Vet race, with temps predicted to be +3'c, a mere 38'C warmer (oh come on! more like 43'C) than the December race. What a fantastic training race the CHT is, not content with all that passing experience, the organisers also lay on extreme temperatures! When you're on the Quest 300 and the temp suddenly plunges or rises ridiculously you can sit back on your sled seat and think "no problem, I've experienced this in the Twister and I AM PREPARED!"

Guest Race Marshmallow for the Alpine Vet Race Day will be Jonathan F. Lucas; previous race marshmallows are taking time out "to spend with their family" (stressful job this), or in the case of Laura Jane Lucas and Brian MacDougall they are "racing for glory", the Twister Trophy, and a small amount of money. 

Have fun out there, dress down, and see you all at 10.00am on Sunday!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Temperatures Rising

We reached the heady heights of -18'C (oops!) on the Copper Haul today - not seen since last year! with temps predicted to keep rising, the Alpine Vet CHT on Sunday could be the hottest in history - well, the races are always hot stuff, but this time it will be actually be warm, so remember to dress down and pack an extra water bottle ...sounds like a hot hounds race!

Trail flattening and grooming is ongoing, as we try to take advantage of the new moisture in the snow to make a nice slick trail for the race.

Aurora booties just confirmed prizes of dog booties and collars for this one.

Remeber all volunteers receive fillets of Arcic Charr from Icy Waters Ltd.

Keep checking in for the weatherman/mad puppy or maybe a weathergirl for this race.....yes indeed, and one thermometer! Scandalous!

Stay hydrated!! and happy trails

Saturday, January 10, 2009

BIg Freeze - End in sight?

...Not from my window next to the roaring stove up at Icy Waters here - Saturday at 10am and the thermometers sit at -34'C, after about 2" more snow fell last night!

In the past month it's been eerily quiet as the snowmobilers seem to have gone into hibernation - which means the "free-packing" I get on the trails round here hasn't happenned and when we did venture out I had the joy of skijoring on very cold snow, up to the two dogs bellies at times - I know I know, that's nothing to you hardy mushing types with your 10+ dogs, sled seats, arse dragger boxes to sit on, etc etc,  but after last Satrurday's run essentially turned into an uphill freightpull for the last 5 miles I called further runs off til it warms up - at that was supposed to be today!! - well today was to be a packing run on the skidoo...

Enough whining! The Weather Network always tells the truth (and I saw the tooth fairy a couple of days ago) and we're going to be above normal all next week - the CHT trail will be nicely packed by then, ready  for the 6 dog sled/4 dog skis Alpine Vet Race Day. This race could be 38'C warmer than the Oscar's race in December - come on out and have a party! Shorts and sandals time round the BBQ.






12 mile Twister - sleds 2-6 dogs, skis 2-4 dogs

5 km 1 pet dog - keep the dog attached to you and anything goes. If you meet a kids team in trouble you must stop to help them out

5 km Kids race - sleds 2-4 dogs, skis 1-2 dogs

Thanks for the prizes to Alpine Vet ($$$$), Yukon Brewing, Aurora Booties, Icy Waters Ltd, Taplow/Firstmate Dog Foods, Dazhaw Du Chiropractic Clinic (JF LaTour), Yukon Agricultural Association, Midnight Sun Alpacas

BIg Freeze - End in sight?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sunday 18th Jan, the first Twister of the New Year. Alpine Vet Race Day


At the new, later time of......


Sunday Jan 18th, Alpine Vet Race Day

Meet at Icy Waters Ltd, km 4.2 Fish Lake Rd

12 mile Twister - Sleds 2-6 dogs, Skis 2-4 dogs

5km Kids race - Sleds 2-4 dogs, Skis 1-2 dogs

5km 1 Pet Dog Race - anything non-motorised transport - skis, bike, sled, feet etc

Merchandise prizes from First Mate Dogfoods (Dogfood!), Aurora Booties (Collars and Booties), Dazhaw Du Chiropractic Clinic (Ointments and Massage oils), Icy Waters Ltd (Arctic Charr), Yukon Brewing (T shirts wrapped in glass), Yukon Agricultural Association (T shirts for wearing), Midnight Sun Alpacas (very warm stuff indeed).

After two races in the League so far, the 12 mile League is led by Kyla Boivin and Jonathan Lucas with 18 points each - a dramatic clash of sled vs skis!! The Pet Dog League is dominated by Asha the Rottie with 20 points from a possible 20; whilst Jeff Diment leads the Kids League with 16 points.

League Prizes - Thanks to YUKON BREWING:
12 mile
1st $250 + trophy
2nd $200
3rd $150
4th $100
5th $50

Pet Dog & Kids
1st $125
2nd $100
3rd $75
4th $50
5th $25

To qualify for a League prize you must race at least 3 times, and volunteer on the 12 mile at least once. Points are counted from your best 4 races.

It's definately going to warm up by the 18th......isn't it???