It’s “probably the second time in my life,” Dallas Seavey says, “that I (have) a team… capable of winning the Iditarod.” But, he adds, “there’s a lot that stands between us and Nome.”
In Anchorage earlier this week, before this weekend’s race start, the youngest person ever to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race caught up with KNOM trail reporter Laureli Kinneen.
The 26-year-old Seavey – who will mush the 2014 Iditarod alongside father and two-time champion Mitch Seavey and 31-year-old brother Danny – sees a lot of tough competition in this year’s Last Great Race, and not just from his own family.
“We’re staring down the barrel of the most competitive Iditarod ever,” he says, pointing to the presence of so many good teams from across mushing generations. “We’re seeing mushers getting better: younger mushers coming into the sport and improving rapidly… (and) older mushers not only not retiring, but coming out of retirement.”
That, and a strong showing of mushers from Norway, a nation known for its vibrant sled dog traditions, and Seavey says there’s a lot of focused competitors who will be vying to be first to Nome.
As for the trail ahead – a trail that many have looked at with trepidation, given Alaska’s warm weather and relative lack of snowfall – Seavey was skeptical about the “hype.”
“So often,” Seavey said, “the trail conditions get hyped up prior to the race, and then it’s nothing like what they said it was once you’re actually out there.”
Besides, he says, “you need to have a team that’s ready for any conditions.”
Hear Dallas Seavey in Anchorage: