Huge Twister race sees repeat winners

It was difficult to hold a conversation at the start line of the Yukon Brewing Copper Haul Twister race on Sunday. There were so many excited dogs eager to race, only yells could overpower the clamour of barking.

It was difficult to hold a conversation at the start line of the Yukon Brewing Copper Haul Twister race on Sunday.

There were so many excited dogs eager to race, only yells could overpower the clamour of barking.

Mushers and skijorers were excited too. The event saw the biggest turnout in more than six years for the Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon (DPSAY).

A total of 38 sled and skijor teams came out for the races on the old Copper Haul Road, more than twice as many as the Twister season opener on Dec. 9.

Despite the increased competition, the Twister had the same winners top the 10-mile dog sled and skijor categories as last month.

Whitehorse’s Mandy Pearson won in sled division and Whitehorse’s Stefan Wackerhagen won the skijor.

A convenient location and an agreeable trail – part of the Trans Canada Trail – helped boost numbers, said organizer Wackerhagen.

“It’s a convenient place. People who live north and south of Whitehorse don’t have too long of a drive to get here,” said Wackerhagen. “And it’s a really easy trail. People showed up who don’t usually do all the races. They could take inexperienced dogs or inexperienced teams here. There’s enough room for passing and it’s not too hilly.”

Pearson’s recent wins come after about a decade away from competing in the sport.

“I raced dogs a lot when I was a teenager and then I went away to college and got rid of them,” said Pearson. “I then worked training some of Terry Streeper’s dogs a few years back. And I raced his yearlings for a year in 2000.

“I always kept a handful of dogs but didn’t race actively. Then last year the only race I went into was the little, fun Rendezvous race.”

Pearson produced a winning time of 37 minutes and 14 seconds, just over four minutes faster than second place’s Martine Lelevier (41:16). Armin Johnson took third with a time of 42:11.

Pearson also won last year’s Rendezvous sled dog race just two weeks after having a baby and more than a decade after winning the race a first time.

Steady speeds and focused lead dogs are the key, she said.

“They don’t have to be the fastest, but steady. There’s lots of passing on these trails, so if you can get them passing smoothly without a bunch of tangles, you can have a clean run,” said Pearson. “We have sprint dogs, so they’re built to go fast.”

Wackerhagen won the 10-mile skijor event and posted the second-fastest time ever on the course, finishing in 39:26. Cynthia Corriveau (41:43) came second in skijor, matching her result from Dec. 9. Adam Robinson claimed third with a time of 44:58.

Though he consistently places well in skijor races, Wackerhagen feels it’s just a matter of time before someone starts outpacing him.

“I’m not a great skier, and there are faster dogs out there too, so when someone puts those two things together they’re going to be faster,” he said.

Wackerhagen won the 30-mile skijor Carbon Hill Sled Dog Race the last two years, setting a course record last January. He also won the skijor division at the 2011 River Runner 100 and the skijor division of the Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race the same year.

On Sunday he was running three dogs instead of his usual two.

“My plan was to do the River Runner and the Percy (DeWolfe race) with four dogs, but right now she has a bit of an injury, stiffness, and I decided not to run her today – the fourth dog,” said Wackerhagen.

DPSAY decided not to schedule any races in February because it’s already a busy time for mushing. There’s the Carbon Hill race at the end of January, plus there’s Yukon Quest, the River Runner and the Rendezvous races in February.

Pearson and partner Armin Johnson will be hosting the next Twister race early March in the Fox Lake area.



Sled (10 miles)

1st Mandy Pearson – 37:14

2nd Martine Lelevier – 41:16

3rd Armin Johnson – 42:11

4th Aaron Nicholson – 43:06

5th Marine Gastard – 43:44

6th Jess Wood – 44:07

7th Alexandra Rochat – 45:51

8th Mathieu Devred – 47:14

9th Kyla Boivin – 48:06

10th Bastien Ipas – 48:27

11th Magnus Kalternborn – 50:01

12th Elsie Dardoize – 51:01

13th Gerry Willomitzer – 52:04

14th Matt McHugh – 54:22

15th Alison Morham – 55:33

16th Kris Kovacs – 55:40

17th Jade Netzer – 56:01

18th Moira Sauer – 57:02

19th Jacob Heigers – 57:09

20th Jorge Perez – 59:40

21st Martin Haefele – 65:02

Christina Reeves (scratched)

Skijor (10 miles)

1st Stefan Wackerhagen – 39:26

2nd Cynthia Corriveau – 41:43

3rd Adam Robinson – 44:58

4th Amil Dupuis-Rossi – 47:33

5th Alison Morham – 55:33

6th Virginia Sarrazin – 58:00

Recreational (three miles)

1st Christel Bartczak – 12:48

2nd Alexandra Rochat – 13:08

3rd Amelie Janin – 13:45

4th Valerie Bussieres – 14:36

5th Kris Kovacs – 18:05

6th Marie Royer – 18:30

7th Tanya Gates – 19:08

8th MC Leroux – 19:43

9th Janet Keller – 21:24

10th Lynn Cheverie – 06:15

Maren Bradley (scratched)

Kids (three miles)

1st Seth Carey – 13:31

Contact Tom Patrick at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read