• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 15s

Get Out: Learning to mush

By Brett Shepard 3:34 PM March 6, 2014

Fun for people and the dogs

ANCHORAGE – We are in the middle of the Iditarod and you might be wondering how the mushers in the race got their start in dog mushing.

In this week’s edition of Get Out, I hit the trails to show you don’t have to go very far to get a taste of this exciting sport.

The past two weeks I’ve been indoors, but the weather has gotten nice and I’m outside this week to find out the difference between gee and haw.

I went to Tozier Track on Tudor Road right in the heart of Anchorage, and yes, this is the home of dog mushing in the Bowl.

This is my second time mushing, and it’s a great way to get out and explore the wilds of Alaska. While this sport is fun for the mushers, it’s equally as fun for the dogs.

“Just the joy of watching the dogs run doing something they love and the thrill of riding the sled and going around the corners, and like being in the wild in the middle of the city of Anchorage,” said musher Beverly Stevens.

Stevens is one of many Anchorage mushers. She retired from teaching in 1990 and was looking for a new activity to fill her time. Mushing came about kind of by accident.

“I wanted to take up a sport, so I had a Labrador retriever and I started skijoring and then I got a husky and then I had puppies so I had to keep a couple of puppies and then I had too many dogs to skijor with and somebody gave me a sled and I got hooked on the sled real quick. I just love it,” Stevens said.

Stevens gave me a refresher on mushing. Gee is right. Haw is left. And I followed her on the trails leading out of Tozier Track.

Mushing is a lot of work for the dogs, but it’s also amazing how much work it is for the musher. Keeping your feet on the runners and helping the dog’s maneuver the sled through corners take some effort. The pro mushers make it look easy.

Stevens said it’s pretty easy to get involved in this sport, with many clubs around the state and even a junior program in town for younger mushers.

“I think the best thing to do is to find somebody that knows how to run dogs on a sled and find a mentor,” she said. “And everybody is willing to help beginners.”

Also you don’t need a 100-dog kennel like many of the Iditarod mushers. Just three or four dogs and a sense of adventure is all you need to enjoy the trails in Anchorage.

For more information on how to get involved in mushing in Alaska check out these links:

If you have any ideas for the Get Out series you can email me at bshepard@ktva.com

I would like to send a big thank you to Beverly Stevens for shooting this story with us. You wouldn’t have known it from the video, but she was recently diagnosed with cancer and currently undergoing chemo, but still has the energy to get out and mush her dogs. She finished second this past weekend in a four-dog race. Quite an inspiration, and I am certain she will beat cancer and continue mushing for years to come.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Crash shuts down Seward Hwy near Portage Glacier Road

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 23:37

    The Seward Highway is completely closed in both directions at mile 76, according to an alert sent out by the Anchorage Police Department at around 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The location is just south Portage Glacier Road, near the Placer River. An Anchorage police officer at the scene said the road will likely be closed until […]

  • News

    Jet owned by Elvis sold for $430,000 at auction

    by Associated Press on May 27, 19:09

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley has been auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 35 years. GWS Auctions Inc. says the plane sold for $430,000 on Saturday at a California event featuring celebrity memorabilia. The auction house says Elvis designed the interior that has gold-tone […]

  • Politics

    Judge dismisses lawsuit against Clinton by Benghazi families

    by Associated Press on May 27, 19:02

    WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton filed by the parents of two Americans killed in the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington says the former secretary of state didn’t defame the parents when disputing allegations that she had lied. The […]

  • News

    Remains of Arkansas soldier killed in Colony Glacier plane crash returned home

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 18:52

    An Arkansas National Guardsman who was killed in plane crash in Alaska 65 years ago has finally made it home. Staff Sgt. Robert Dale Van Fossen was laid to rest Saturday in Little Rock. Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson ordered flags lowered to half mast in Van Fossen’s honor. His remains were found among the wreckage of […]

  • News

    Historic planes head to Dutch Harbor to mark 75th anniversary of Aleutians battle

    by Dave Leval on May 27, 18:43

    John Pletcher’s invitation is too good to ignore — a chance for myself to get back in the sky for the first time in a while. It takes his JRF-5 Grumman Goose just seconds to take flight at Anchorage’s Merrill Field, then it’s off to Dutch Harbor, to take part in the 75th anniversary of […]

  • News

    NTSB investigating separate fatal crashes near Fairbanks, Haines

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 14:46

    Last updated at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 Two people are confirmed dead and one is in critical condition following a fatal plane crash near the small Southeast Alaska community of Haines. Alaska State Troopers (AST) confirmed 29-year-old David Kunat of Juneau and an unnamed adult male passenger from California were killed in the crash. Chan Valentine, […]

  • News

    Feds to gain control over Kuskokwim king salmon management

    by Associated Press on May 27, 12:55

    BETHEL, Alaska (AP) – Starting next month, the management of king salmon on a southwestern Alaska river will transfer from state control to federal. KYUK-AM reports that as of June 12, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin to oversee the salmon living on lower and middle Kuskokwim River. Under federal law, the switch is […]

  • Lifestyle

    Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69

    by Associated Press on May 27, 11:53

    SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – A publicist for rock legend Gregg Allman says the organist and singer for The Allman Brothers Band has died. He was 69. Ken Weinstein confirmed Saturday that Allman died at his home in Savannah, Georgia. Allman had cancelled some 2016 tour dates for health reasons. In March 2017, he canceled performances […]