Following the Iditarod from home

Joar Leifseth Ulsom with one of his team members at the ceremonial start of Iditarod 46 in Anchorage. Photo by Katie Writer – KTNA.

by: Katie Writer – KTNA

The Iditarod has always provided an inspirational resource for people from around the world as they watch dog teams cover hundreds of miles. One Iditarod musher from Norway, Joar Ulsom is eager to share his joy of not only long distance racing, but also adventure travel with a dog team.

KTNA’s Katie Writer spoke to Elizabeth Shay about another online learning tool, GoNorth! Adventure Learning Series, in which Iditarod musher, Joar Ulsom participates as a member of Team Beringia , which can found on

GoNorth! Adventure Learning Series offers a free online curriculum for ages 6-18 that teaches traditional knowledge of Arctic People. In their mission statement, they aim to provide innovative opportunities to excite and inspire youth as well as support appreciation of human diversity and traditional values.

Elizabeth Shay works as a liaison between Joar Ulsom and Team Beringia.

“Joar is from Norway and the team is called Racing Beringia, so we also have a Russian team member, who comes from the Russian North and then a Canadian team member.”

Shay describes some of the different characteristics of dog breeds that run the Iditarod.

“Joar’s are like the little Norwegian huskies, which are really super fast, they are kind of like the

Two members of Joar Leifseth Ulsom’s team of Norwegian Huskies with caribou fur harnesses. Photo by Katie Writer – KTNA.

Lamborghini’s. And the Russian musher’s dogs are more like the tanks.”

There are many avenues for information on the Iditarod as the dog teams make their to Nome, one checkpoint at a time. Not everyone is a passionate Iditarod follower, but for many family members and fans, it sometimes feels like there is not enough current information. Day after day of watching their favorite musher on the GPS tracker page can become unsatisfying.

Margaret Maixner, wife of Iditarod musher Kelly Maixner, says she is eager to get any report on how Kelly and his team are doing as they cross rugged Alaska.

Margaret Maixner at the ceremonial start of Iditarod 46 in Anchorage. Photo by Katie Writer.

She and their kids follow the Iditarod GPS tracker on a regular basis.

“I’ve got it on my phone. I’ve got it on two computers in the house…I’ve got it up at work.”

Margaret says her kids are also getting in on the excitement of the race.

“It’s pretty exciting. I think this is the first year they’re really into it, and they do a big thing at school…Kelly took one of the dogs into class a few weeks ago and met everyone.”

As dog team start making their to the villages closer to the coast, they will be pulling out their Arctic gear for not only themselves, but also for their dogs.




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