Sleds, skis and fatbikes race at the Copper Haul dog mushing league

Melissa Schenke competes in the six-dog race at the Yukon Brewing Copper Haul League dog sled race on Jan. 30. The races was 10 miles long and Schenke finished in sixth place. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)Melissa Schenke competes in the six-dog race at the Yukon Brewing Copper Haul League dog sled race on Jan. 30. The races was 10 miles long and Schenke finished in sixth place. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Lea-Marie Savoie takes off from the start line with her two dogs at the Yukon Brewing Copper Haul League dog sled race on Jan. 30. Savoie finished in third place for her category. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)Lea-Marie Savoie takes off from the start line with her two dogs at the Yukon Brewing Copper Haul League dog sled race on Jan. 30. Savoie finished in third place for her category. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Jim Verin races in the “young people’s three-kilometre race” during the Yukon Brewing Copper Haul League dog sled races on Jan. 30. Verin came in first place. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)Jim Verin races in the “young people’s three-kilometre race” during the Yukon Brewing Copper Haul League dog sled races on Jan. 30. Verin came in first place. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Aurora Barnes, accompanied by her brother Forest and followed by her mother Becki, races in the “young people’s three-kilometre race”. Barnes placed second. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)Aurora Barnes, accompanied by her brother Forest and followed by her mother Becki, races in the “young people’s three-kilometre race”. Barnes placed second. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)

The Yukon Brewing Copper Haul League dog sled races resumed on Jan. 30 with 18 mushers competing.

“A firm trail with edging snow led to some fast times,” said Jon Lucas, league organizer.

Mushers raced in four categories in the nearly -25 C temperatures: 10 miles (16 kilometres) with four to six dogs; three-km kicksled; three-km for young people; and three-kilometre pet dog in which “anything goes” — ski, sled, run or fatbike.

Racers were awarded with prizes from Yukon Brewing, local farms and Skywolf K9 Adventures.

The league launched with a qualifying race on Jan. 2.

Last weekend was the first race of three to determine the league winner, who will be awarded $700. The original roster of 11 league racers shrunk to 5 in the last race: Alexandra Rochat, Soren Ohlign, Melissa Schenke, Ilana Kingsley and Greg Newby.

None of the league racers finished first in the 10-mile race. Organizer Jon Lucas came first with a time of 39:30. Rochat finished second with 40:35 and Ohlign finished third with 41:00.

In the three-km kicksled race, Catalina Gomez finished first with 19:10. Rhonda Kotelko finished second at 23:22 and Lea-Marie Savoie finished third with 25:00. Only three mushers competed, all with two dogs.

Two mushers competed in the young people’s three-km race. Jim Verin finished first with a three-dog team in 13 minutes. Aurora Barnes finished in 22 minutes with brother, Forest, and mother, Becki, riding along in support.

The pet dog three-km race saw each musher use a different method: from skijor to fatbike.

Derek Kingston finished in 14:45 with a two-dog skijor. Natayla Keller finished in 16 minutes with two dogs on snowblades. Nadelle Flynn finished in 17 minutes with a one-dog skijor. Sarah Gallo finished in 23:20 with a one-dog canicross. Frances Alex-Naud competed with two dogs on a fatbike, but did not complete the distance.

The next race will take place on Feb. 20.

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

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