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For both Jonrowe and Smyth, “odd” years leading up to Iditarod 2014

DeeDee Jonrowe mushes down 4th Avenue during the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod. She will be mushing the Norton Sound 450 sled dog race this February.

DeeDee Jonrowe mushes down 4th Avenue during the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod. She will be mushing the Norton Sound 450 sled dog race this February.

“It’s been an odd year,” DeeDee Jonrowe says, with regards both to her personal and professional lives.

As the veteran musher told KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen in Anchorage, the season has been strange, of course, in its weather patterns. In her neck of the woods, it was lots of snow early, and then – after the January thaw – hardly any at all. In the wake of the unseasonable warmth, opportunities both to mush and to train her dog team were curtailed.

Her personal life, too, has been challenging, owing to a death in the family and the disruptions and life changes that followed.

With Laureli, the Iditarod fan favorite was cautious but uncertain about this year’s race – its trail, in particular. She hopes that she’ll be able to keep her often-eager dogs at a moderate pace on what may shape up to be a fast trail, and she’s looking forward to making it to Nikolai:


As with DeeDee Jonrowe, Ramey Smyth‘s latest training season has been affected by a marked lack of snow.

It’s been a task requiring unusual effort, the Willow, Alaska musher says, to find conditions good enough in which to train his team.

His team, meanwhile, has seen some changes, especially after the injury of his lead dog in this year’s Kuskokwim 300.

On this year’s trail, which Smyth describes as crash-prone, “rough and unforgiving,” his goals are simple: “to finish and do well by the dogs” and “to be the first one there (in Nome).”

Hear Ramey Smyth in Anchorage: