Frida Waara takes on Marquette winters with gusto. She spoke with Stateside host Cyndy Canty about the “fantastic” season and the UP 200 Dog Sledding Championship event it brings.
On Feb. 12-16, mushers will race a total of 240 miles, from Marquette to Grand Marais and back. Waara has done it before and says the race brings all sorts of people to compete.
“It’s so cool because they come from wherever and they’re just bound together by a love for snow, the beauty of just being out on that trail and being out there with your dogs,” she said.
Still, the event can be brutal.
“I’ve got to tell you, this is an event that changed my life,” Waara said. “I learned that mushers are a breed of people that you cannot complain to them about anything. If you were to tell them that you were cold, tired, broke, frustrated, hungry – you name it, they’ll look at you and go, ‘So, yeah? Welcome to my world.’ And I think that’s what happens about the sport. It really opens up a whole new idea of what adventure really is.”
Waara also highlighted the unbending support mushers receive from people camping out along the trail during the race. She mentioned people handing out Snicker bars, residents taking overnight shifts at road crossings and lit luminaries.
“These guys keep coming back – guys and gals – because there’s just this amazing spirit and love for winter that circles this whole event,” she said. “And they say – it’s so interesting – but they say that once a dog runs the UP 200, they know that trail.”