The Yukon Brewing Twister race season kicked off in a nostalgic setting.
The Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon (DPSAY) began the season on trails that hadn’t been used for a winter race in years at the Yukon Brewing Twister Race #1 on Sunday in the Ibex Valley.
The trail system was once used by the now-defunct Yukon Dog Mushers Association and was originally put in 40 years ago in 1975.
“Armin (Johnson) and I knew about the trails and we thought we should start using them because they are great,” said DPSAY president Virginia Sarrazin. “They are great for a community. We go place to place but there’s nowhere for us to meet outside of the races and train together. So the idea is to make the trails known by people because they haven’t been used for so long.”
“We’re trying to revive these trails out here,” said Johnson. “That’s one of the reasons why we had it here – these trails are made for dog mushing, by dog mushers. They are very flat trails, so you don’t need a lot of snow to run on them … There’s a lot of history out here.”
Despite a wind pushing the temperature down to about minus 20, a total of 18 dog sled and skijor teams came out to ride the historic trails.
Johnson, of Fox Lake, outpaced 11 other teams to place first in the 12-mile, six-dog race with a time of 42 minutes and 57 seconds.
Dave Johnson placed second with a time of 45:34 and Marine Gastard third at 49:50.
Armin also won the 3.5-mile recreation class in 13:25. Skijorer Katherine Sheepway, who won skijor titles at the Carbon Hill Sled Dog Race and the Silver Sled last season, placed second overall at 18:58.
“It’s a beautiful windy trail,” added Armin. “There’s a four-mile, a five-mile, a seven-mile, a nine-mile, a 12-mile, a 15-mile and a whole assortment of loops you can do. A lot of the trail overlooks Takhini River.
“Eventually we’d like to have a club house out here.”
Sarrazin, who lives in the Ibex Valley, was the top skijorer in the 12-mile race at 48:03, placing third overall among the sleds.
The next DPSAY race will be the Carbon Hill Sled Dog Race at Mt Lorne on Jan. 17.
“It’s a really good turnout. I’m surprised because it was really cold this morning,” said Sarrazin. “We have new faces too, so that’s pretty awesome.”
Sled (12 miles)
1st Armin Johnson – 42:57
2nd Dave Johnson – 45:34
3rd Marine Gastard – 49:50
4th Krystina Young – 52:37
5th Mathieu St-Jean – 53:55
6th Anthony Joannes – 54:18
7th Yasmine Mahdhaom – 56:13
8th Magnus Kaltenborn – 58:18
9th Nathaniel Hanlyn – 58:35
10th Adam Robinson – 1:03:20
11th Krys March – 1:04:28
12th Erin Stevens – 1:05:32
Skijor (12 miles)
1st Virginia Sarrazin – 48:03
2nd Jess Wood – 55:31
Recreational (3.5 miles)
1st Armin Johnson – 13:25
2nd Katherine Sheepway (skijor) – 18:58
3rd Deb Knight – 20:55
4th Yasmine Mahdhaom – 21:15
5th Janet Keller – 21:48
6th Maren Bradley (skijor) – 23:42
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