• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: DIRECTV Customers: Tell DIRECTV to bring back KTVA - Call 800-531-5000. - Read More
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

  • Lifestyle

    Chugiak first responder thankful for community support after snowboarding accident

    by Daniella Rivera on Feb 27, 7:30

    A Chugiak first responder who’s used to rescuing other people found himself on the other side of an accident last week. Peter Casey works as a flight paramedic for LifeMed Alaska and helps out with Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue. In his free time, the lifelong Alaskan enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family. But […]

  • Poll: US teens disillusioned, divided by politics

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 27, 6:17

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A survey of children ages 13 to 17 finds that America’s teens are almost as politically disillusioned and pessimistic about the nation’s divisions as their parents. But they aren’t quite as quick to write off the future as adults. The poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds […]

  • News

    Hostetler Park renovation project includes new plan for Alaska Victims Memorial

    by Eric Ruble on Feb 26, 18:45

    A small park in the northwest corner of downtown Anchorage will soon have a new look. Hostetler Park is located where Third Avenue becomes L Street. Since 1994, the eastern portion of the park has been occupied by the Alaska Victims Memorial. It includes the names of more than 350 Alaskans who died because of […]

  • Weather

    Alaska Weather Forecast – Feb. 26, 2017

    by KTVA Weather on Feb 26, 18:38

    Meteorologist Melissa Frey says most of the state will see some amount of snow, but Southeast will stay dry through Monday. Follow KTVA 11’s Weather Team on Facebook and Twitter. Got a weather-related photo or story idea? Email the team at weather@ktva.com.

  • News

    Officials readying for Eielson F-35s to spur housing crunch

    by Associated Press on Feb 26, 18:18

    Officials are preparing for a possible housing crunch in 2020 that is expected to coincide with an influx of servicemen tied to the two new F-35 squadrons coming to Eielson Air Force Base. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports one part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough is estimated to need 800 units of housing by […]

  • Politics

    White House to propose slashing agency budgets

    by Associated Press on Feb 26, 18:07

    The White House is moving to propose slashing cuts to longtime Republican targets like the Environmental Protection Agency in a set of marching orders to agencies as it prepares its budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Capitol Hill aides say the White House budget office on Monday will send agencies proposed levels for the 2018 […]

  • Politics

    Agency publishes timetable for Mexico border wall

    by Associated Press on Feb 26, 18:04

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. The agency said Friday on a website for federal contactors that a request for bids would be published on or around March 6. Companies would have to submit “concept papers” to design and build […]

  • Lifestyle

    2017 Fur Rondy snow sculpture winners announced

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 26, 17:49

    One of the most popular events at Fur Rendezvous is the snow sculpture competition. On Sunday, Fur Rondy officials announced the winners of this year’s event. While the competition is over, the public will be able to see each of the snow sculptures through the end of Fur Rondy on March 5, weather permitting. They are […]