Meet Robert Sorlie’s mushing partner: Thomas Wærner (pronounced “Warner” for non-Norwegians). They made a two-year plan to run the Iditarod, Robert this year, and Thomas next year. New to the racing scene in Alaska, Thomas is following the race in a group of snowmachiners to see what it’s like, learning what he might expect next year.
Although new to mushing in Alaska, Thomas is no rookie. Starting as a handler in the ’90’s, Wærner has been a part of the mushing scene in Norway for over 30 years, running long distances since 2003. He now owns his own kennel of about 40 dogs. And that combined with Robert Sorlie’s kennel of 30 gives them a great pool to choose 16 elite dogs to bring for this race.
Thomas shares his own stories of difficulty passing through the Dalzell Gorge and the Farewell Burn on snowmachine. “We were sliding. It was just frozen ground, you couldn’t stop at all.” Despite the dismal conditions on the early part of the trail, Thomas is impressed by the work the crew did to get the trail put in. He’s encouraged and excited about coming back next year.