New-look Silver Sled adapts to COVID-19

Louve Tweddell’s team starts the first stage of the Silver Sled on Jan. 23 outside Haines Junction. Tweddell finished seventh overall in the two-stage race. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)Louve Tweddell’s team starts the first stage of the Silver Sled on Jan. 23 outside Haines Junction. Tweddell finished seventh overall in the two-stage race. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)
Jacob Heigers helps his team navigate a tight bend during the first stage of the Silver Sled on Jan. 23 outside Haines Junction. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)Jacob Heigers helps his team navigate a tight bend during the first stage of the Silver Sled on Jan. 23 outside Haines Junction. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)
Lori Tweddell and her team navigate a turn during the first stage of the Silver Sled on Jan. 23 outside Haines Junction. Tweddell finished eighth in the two-stage race. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)Lori Tweddell and her team navigate a turn during the first stage of the Silver Sled on Jan. 23 outside Haines Junction. Tweddell finished eighth in the two-stage race. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)
Susie Rogan and her team make a final turn as they prepare to cross the Alaska Highway during the first leg of the Silver Sled on Jan. 23 outside Haines Junction. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)Susie Rogan and her team make a final turn as they prepare to cross the Alaska Highway during the first leg of the Silver Sled on Jan. 23 outside Haines Junction. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)
Jonathan Lucas and his team race during the Silver Sled on Jan. 23 outside Haines Junction. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)Jonathan Lucas and his team race during the Silver Sled on Jan. 23 outside Haines Junction. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

The 2021 Silver Sled dog mushing race was held Jan. 23 and 24 outside Haines Junction with more than a dozen mushers taking part.

Yukoner Ed Hopkins was this year’s winner, finishing with a two-day combined time of six hours, 53 minutes and 40 seconds. He also had the fastest time in each stage.

Split into two stages, the 70-mile (113-kilometre) trail begins outside Haines Junction and goes to Silver City on day one before mushers race the second stage from Silver City back to Haines Junction.

Although typically held later in the year and closer to 100 miles (160-km) in length, this year’s race was adjusted to account for other races happening in the territory and the limited January daylight.

This year, 12 mushers started the 70-mile race with another two electing to run the 35-mile (56-km) first stage as a standalone race.

Behind Hopkins, Connor McMahon finished second with a total time of seven hours, 16 minutes and 56 seconds, and Nathaniel Hamlyn finished third in seven hours, 23 minutes and 23 seconds.

Paul Hamlyn was fourth, Crystelle Houdry was fifth, Fabian Schmitz was sixth, Louvre Tweddell was seventh, Lori Tweddell was eighth and Jonathan Alsberghe was ninth.

Jonathan Lucas, Hans Gatt and Susie Rogan all completed the first stage, but did not race the second stage.

In the 35-mile race, Jacob Heigers finished in four hours, 15 minutes and five seconds with Marcelle Fressineau finished second in five hours, two minutes and 22 seconds.

The race had COVID-19 precautions in place throughout, and utilized the original trail and a start/finish line outside of Haines Junction to minimize community impact.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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