Posts Tagged ‘Snowhook Kennel’

Snowhook Preview


February 27th, 2014 Posted 7:39 am

Rebecca (CEO of Snowhook, “our” kennel, at least emotionally) and AJ, musher extraordinaire, had a pre-Iditarod conversation, and Rebecca very kindly has shared the results. Go, Snowhook!

Trail conditions are expected to be hard and fast all the way through to Rainy Pass and become extremely difficult through the Alaska Range and onto Nikolai.  Several veteran mushers have either withdrawn from the race or have expressed concern about the trail.  Fortunately, thanks to Rose and Grizz, for the first time we are able to send out a second sled this year.   In each of the past two Iditarod races, the sled has been damaged in the first 300 miles of the race. 

We are unsure if the race is going to go over the sea ice on the coast this year or run an overland trail.  Word is that there is 100 miles of bare ground and tussocks going into Nome.  More about the trail conditions and plans for the coast will be shared at the mandatory mushers meeting on Thursday.

The team has a lot of miles on them this year which is good for their experience.  However, the weather and trail conditions have been poor the last few weeks.  Despite the uncertainty of any race as well as the weather and trail changes, the team is ready to go. 

Frank and Natty have proven themselves to be leaders through the course of training this season.  The more leaders the team starts the race with, the better.   The final team line up will be whittled down by Friday—the day the Plunderers visit Snowhook Kennel for their own personal tour— and then finalized on Sunday morning, the day of the restart. 

The plan is to pace and conserve the team’s energy throughout the race.

We are very grateful to all the Plunderers who have supported and sponsored the team this year.  It has made a significant difference. 

– Welcome new friends Linus, Jessie & Keera, Poochie (first Poochie in the gallery).


Snowhook, Iditarod, Plunderers


February 26th, 2014 Posted 7:28 am

Newcomers to this blog might not know that we’re big supporters of Snowhook – a wonderfully humane kennel in Willow, AK. The Iditarod – greatest dog sled race in the world – is coming up in a few days and a bunch of Plunderers (an energetic and creative sub-group here) are already assembling up there. We’re jealous.

Good luck to Rebecca, CEO of Snowhook, AJ, musher extraordinaire, and all those beautiful and athletic members of the nation within. We’ll have some up-to-the-minute reports and analysis from Rebecca during the race. Go Snowhook!


Snowhook Update


January 9th, 2014 Posted 7:59 am

As some of you know, this blog is an enthusiastic supporter of Snowhook Kennel, humane and dedicated sled dog racers up in Willow, Alaska. It’s run by a wonderful couple – Rebecca and AJ Savidis – and AJ sent this update into the comments section recently. Here it is for all to see. Go Snowhook!

We’ve been training like crazy. The team is routinely running 40 – 80 mile runs and looks great. We’ve been traveling over trails that climb 1000 feet, on rivers and through deep forests. It’s been great to change the routine teach the dogs to run well no matter what the circumstance. Which this year also includes cutting through trees virtually every day that keep falling down across the trail.

If you’ve been following the kennel you may already know that Phil Walters is working with us to finish up his qualifying status to run Iditarod. He’ll be running our team in the Northern Lights 300 in a couple of weeks. He also took my A team to a quick 60 mile race in Denali where they placed 4th.

My first race that I’m running in this season is coming up and is the Tustemena 200 down on the penninsula. The dogs will have just run a 300 mile race the week before so we’re not too sure what to expect out of them just yet.

Iditarod food drop preparation is now underway. In order to feed the team over a 1000 miles we send out about 1600 pounds of food and gear across Alaska. This takes us putting together countless bags of kibble, fish, beef, booties and on and on. Usually we try to get this done on days that the team has a day off. Which means a day off the runners usually starts around 8 am and finishes about 11 pm in order to get it all done by the due date.

We do have some stressful news too. Due to a handler who is no longer with the kennel we’ve had a few injuries to some key dogs. Usually it’s very small things but some times it can also be a little more serious such as a shoulder injury. Little Josephine who has been one of my main leaders this season has been off for the last month recovering. We’re just going to start running her again and so if you can keep her in your thoughts we always appreciate the extra help.

On a final more positive note…. Iditarod is a small club of people who have ever finished the race. In its history a little over 800 people have completed this trek which makes finishing a well I suppose an achievement. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy to have these finishes under my belt and to be a part of this club but on another level performing better and coming in with a better time is always on my mind. This year thanks to all of you I feel much more prepared to achieve this goal.

If you follow the race you’ll see me go out much more slowly than I have in the past. I’m trying to learn somewhat from my mistakes and will be playing a much more conservative game at first in order to help the team perform better later on in the race. The goal that I’ve set this year is to come in a full 24 hours faster than last year. Of course there are always the nagging doubts that linger when you write down a goal but that is the direction I’m heading.

And finally. Though I don’t know many of you personally I do think about you often. Your friendship, support and selflessness amaze me. I know many of you struggle with problems that as someone who has faced the challenges of Alaska I wouldn’t want to face. I’m humbled by strangers who reach out to others and embrace them as family and who go out of their way to encourage and support each other. Thank you for supporting the kennel. You don’t get to see what it means to the dogs and to us but I do everyday when I look at dogs like Leonard and Elmer who wouldn’t have had a home otherwise.

Well, it’s almost 12:30 here and we’re running dogs again tomorrow. We’ll see you on the trail and as Edward Abbey says, “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”


Snowhook Labor Day Auction – Tonight!


August 30th, 2013 Posted 7:46 am

It’s that time again! Join the Snowhook Kennel team in their Labor Day Weekend fund raising auction! Coordinated by Friends of the Kennel, the Labor Day auction boasts unique gifts and many one-of-a-kind items. All proceeds from this auction will support Snowhook’s 2013/2014 race season. Snowhook is a wonderfully humane racing kennel based in Willow, Alaska, that competes in many races, including the famous Iditarod. Rebecca and Justin (AJ) are a great couple who run the kennel—AJ is the musher—and we at plus a lot of people who come here every day love to support their efforts. Snowhook Kennel has enjoyed some success in mid-distance races including two first place finishes, two top five finishes; AJ has received two Humanitarian Awards for exceptional dog care in two mid-distance races and was nominated for the 2012 Iditarod Sportsmanship Award. Snowhook has the goal of becoming a top ranked team in the Iditarod in the next three to five years. Maintaining a racing kennel and taking good care of all those beautiful dogs is expensive. This evening an online auction begins at 8:00pm EST – closing Monday at 4:00pm EST – to help raise money for the team. There are a lot of great items for race fans, Snowhook supporters, dog lovers and even cat lovers. All you have to do is go to the Snowhook site ( and a link to the auction will appear when it’s time for the auction to begin.

Welcome Henry, Hank.


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