Sign Up for Alaska Mushing School
Alaska Mushing School is just an hour away from downtown Anchorage. If you’ve always dreamt of leading an Iditarod team, get a taste of what it takes with a professional school open to the public. Nothing is as thrilling as riding behind expert sled dogs while you tackle the famed route. It takes bravery, a sense of adventure and the right gear. Mushing dogs have been racing through the Alaskan winters for thousands of years, and were once the only source of dependable travel.
Through the 1940s, sled dogs were a popular form of transportation in Alaska—particularly for mail delivery. At mushing school, you’ll learn about the history from pro mushers committed to marrying their passion for sled dogs with teaching visitors about the one of a kind history. It starts at the Happy Trails Kennel in Big Lake. Owner and Iditarod champ Martin Buser curated the Visitor’s Center with racing trophies and memorabilia. The ten-foot map and historic gear amps you up to meet the dogs nearby in the kennel. They range from puppies to retirees (and include plenty of prize-winners).
What to Expect
There are up to 50 dogs in the kennel and you’re welcome to meet and greet with all. In the yard, it’s clear how excited the dogs get in anticipation of a run. Take some photos while the dogs jump in excitement. Mushers know getting dogs to run is easy. It’s making them stop that takes skill. Every dog is different, of course, and you’ll get to know their personalities as the driver takes you on a mini race.
On the frozen tundra, far from civilization and roads, you’ll see Mount Susitna in the distance when skies are clear. Whipping past spruce and birch trees, a morning run means the sunrise casts a pink hue over the landscape. Look for moose, spy ravens in the sky, and afterwards choose to add a lunch at a local joint that offers reindeer and vegan hot dogs alike.