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Johnson, Sarrazin win frosty Twister race

Considering the roughly minus-30 temperature, it's hard to think of a better place for a Yukon Brewing Twister Race than the Takhini Hot Pools on Sunday.

Considering the roughly minus-30 temperature, it’s hard to think of a better place for a Yukon Brewing Twister Race than the Takhini Hot Pools on Sunday.

Mushers and skijorers had the option to take a dip in the hot pools after finishing the 13-mile course in the second race of the season hosted by the Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon (DPSAY).

“We were wondering if we should cancel it the night before because our cutoff is usually minus-30,” said DPSAY committee member Virginia Sarrazin. “But we maintained it because the Takhini Hot Pools were expecting us and the Cafe Balzam too.

“We were really surprised to see that many teams showed up despite the cold. But it worked out with the sun coming out. It was a really good day.”

Twenty-eight teams took part in Sunday’s races with some less-than-close finishes among the 13-mile winners.

Fox Lake’s Armin Johnson took first in the 13-mile dog sled, almost four minutes ahead of his wife Mandy in second. Mandy took first, ahead of Armin in second, at the season-opening Carbon Hill Sled Dog Race last month in Mount Lorne.

“It was kind of funny because I was teasing Mandy that the pressure was on to beat me because she beat me last time (at Carbon Hill),” said Armin. “But she did good, she came in second.

“It was a really fun, hilly trail. You really got to work on the hills; you’re running up and down the hills.”

Armin finished the hilly course in 45 minutes and 55 seconds. Mandy crossed the finish line in 49:48, ahead of third place’s Jonathan Lucas at 53:27. All three started the race with eight dogs.

“(Mandy) had a little bit of trouble out there,” said Armin. “I had a really good number: I went out third. So I didn’t have as many passes and stuff. And she had to load one of her dogs ... It just wasn’t keeping up to the fast pace.”

There was an even larger gap separating the top skijorers on the 13-mile course.

Sarrazin took first, one second shy of a full nine minutes ahead of second place’s Cynthia Corriveau, with a time of 50:19. Claudia Wickert came third at 1:05:47.

Sarrazin, who lives in the Ibex Valley, also placed first in the 10-mile division of the Carbon Hill race.

“The trail was really good ... Perfect for skijoring and sleds,” said Sarrazin of Sunday. “It was hard packed because of the cold the night before. There was not much glide for skiers because of the cold before, but there was nothing really to complain about.”

The Johnsons have placed first and second in the first two races of the season and they’ll have a home-field advantage at the next one.

The couple will host the next DPSAY Twister race at their Yukon Horsepacking Adventures location at Fox Lake on Feb. 22.

Almost all of the 15-mile race will take place on the frozen Fox Lake.

“We start up at our place and there’s a little bit of bush for about half a mile,” said Armin.

Contact Tom Patrick at


13-mile sled

1st Armin Johnson - 45:55

2nd Mandy Johnson - 49:48

3rd Jonathan Lucas - 53:27

4th Marine Gastard - 56:10

5th Jade Netzer - 59:33

6th Maren Bradley - 1:00:59

7th Jean-Marc Champeval - 1:01:24

8th Sabrina Fisher - 1:05:45

9th Meagan Grabowski - 1:05:56

10th Fabian Schmitz - 1:06:55

11th Cindy Hawkins - 1:13:26

12th Nathalie Sands - 1:13:30

13th Erin Stevens - 1:15:04

14th Janet Keller - 1:26:38

13-mile skijor

1st Virginia Sarrazin - 50:19

2nd Cynthia Corriveau - 59:18

3rd Claudia Wickert - 1:05:47

4th Jess Wood - 1:08:46

5th Adam Robinson - 1:20:56

6th Catherine Mallet - 1:23:34

5-mile recreational

1st Germund Roesholt - 20:23

2nd Jonathan French - 20:33

3rd Sophie Firmenich - 21:53

4th Richard Malvasio - 22:53

5th Jade Rochat - 23:57

6th Maren Bradley - 25:20

7th Greg Whiteside - 26:37

8th Reno Man - 34:41