Crispin Studer’s mushing season has gone to the dogs – they deserve the credit, according to him.
“It’s mostly my dogs, it’s not really me,” said Studer. “The dogs did what we trained them for and they did good at it.”
The Carcross musher completed an undefeated season with a win at the Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race in Dawson City on March 27.
It was the 34-year-old’s third straight Percy win and fourth in total with a win in 2011.
“The dogs were awesome and I’m really proud of them,” said Studer. “I own about 30 dogs, and half of them my friend William Kleedehn has been training. He has 12 at his home, and I have 12, and the other six are either retirees or puppies. So we train them together, but he wasn’t able to do much racing because he got injured, so I ended up running the main dogs in every race.”
Studer completed the 338-kilometre race from Dawson to Eagle, Alaska and back in 20 hours and 21 minutes. Whitehorse’s Normand Casavant reached the finish line 24 minutes later for second. Dawson City’s Jason Biasetti, who pocketed this year’s Sportsmanship Award, placed third at 22 hours and 51 minutes.
The Rookie of the Year winner, Gaetan Pierrard of Whitehorse, placed fourth. Whitehorse’s Nathanial Hamlyn came fifth, a spot up from Vet Care Award recipient Alexandra Rochat of Whitehorse.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Studer. He narrowly avoided disaster about 110 kilometres into the race when an avalanche took out a section of the trail just a couple minutes before he got there.
“It happened a couple minutes ahead of me on the trail,” said Studer. “It was one metre thick with rocks and chunks mixed in it, so I was happy to avoid that.
“I heard a big roar and I went around a small bend and there was three feet of snow and rocks on top of the trail.”
The Percy was Studer’s fourth race and fourth win of the season. Studer won his fifth 30-kilometre title at the Carbon Hill Sled Dog Race in January. He then won the 100-mile Silver Sled race at the start of March.
Studer also topped the roughly 225-kilometre Cinnamon Bun Run (formerly the River Runner) last month.
The Bun Run, which like the Percy was held in warm temperatures, was good preparation for last week’s race in Dawson, said Studer.
“It was like (the Percy), it was a pretty warm race,” he said. “It was three, four, five degrees the whole way. I ran pretty much the same dogs; eight of the nine of the dogs I had in the Percy I also had in the Cinnamon Bun Run … I saw who could handle the heat, was good with the heat, and I pretty much chose those dogs.”
Tagish’s Ed Hopkins, who posted a career-best third place finish in the Yukon Quest this past February, placed first in the 160-kilometre Percy Junior race.
Dawson’s Dany Jette took second and Dawson’s Jeffery Mickelson, who was given a Vet Care Award, took third in the junior event.
“It was very, very warm,” said Studer. “In the afternoon of the first day, I took a break in 40 Mile, which is 50 miles out from Dawson – a quarter of the race – and when I left there after my break it was plus eight or nine degrees, which was the warmest I think I’ve ever seen in a dog race.
“After it cooled down a bit it was good for the rest of the race.”
Contact Tom Patrick at