Thursday, December 22, 2011

Puppies, dogs and blue northerners

Hi Everyone,

Glad to be back writing some blog posts!

As I elluded to before, we have had a very hectic and very up and down autumn. I will spare everyone the grusome details of most of went wrong. I will however share
what went right!

Kaia is pregnant with our first child. She is getting a big round belly, and is healthy and happy as can be. She had her first ult
rasound last week, which I got to go to. The baby is healthy and moving around a ton. Aaaaaand... It's a boy!
We have been been thinking of names for months now. We thought we had settled on a few, but kept changing our minds. Now I think we have settled on the final name. Eivind.
It is easy to say in English, and is pronounced exactly like it is spelled. So easy for all parties.

We had some puppy litters this past summer that are looking great now. Look at some pictures! These are the Langbein X Soka puppies. They have tons of energy and this is the closest I have come to getting a completely still shot of them!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Ropphaugen

Monday, December 19, 2011

Well hi, It's been so long

Hi everyone,

First of all I need to apologise for how long it has been since the last posting.
Things got a bit nutty here in September, and have only just mellowed out. So posting has been lowish on the priority list. But! now things are starting to get a bit mellower, and we are ready to start catching up!

We are a few days out from Christmas now. We have trails that are super right now. It snowed all of last week, and we are running on sleds almost every day now.
The dogs are looking awesome. Our pups from last year are really looking super. I was out yesterday morning with some of our youngest. I left before the sun came out, and was out when it came up, so I got to see the sinrise from the back of a dogsled... One of my favorite things.

We lost Jago about a week ago. He ate a rock the size of a small orange, and it did so much damage on the way down that he we had to say goodbye to avoid undue suffering. He was a super dog and we are going to miss him a ton.

Our team is getting more refined and we are soon going to be starting to focus on training to be ready for some shorter races this year, with the major goal being Femundløpet next year.

DeeDee Jonrowe has been taking great care of Ethan's blood tests and paperwork, so he will be ready to join us here in Norway and settle into his forever home. We are super excited to get him here, and we are really impatient to get him into our gang.

The biggest news of late is that Kaia is pregnant with our first child. We have been to the first ultrasound and it's a boy! We are going to call him Eivind. We are excited as we have ever been able anything X 10. Kaia is healthy and looking beautiful. We are feeling blessed in a way we have never felt before.

We are not working with Dr. Tim's anymore. Fjellfor has been a wonderful partner, and now we are looking forward and not backward.

I wanted to make a step in the right direction and post a quick update. I will post some training pictures soon, and will continue posting throughout the winter.

Cheers, Merry Christmas and happy holidays.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Training, puppies, and sad goodbyes.

Hi Everyone,

Well, training is in full swing, and the wet cool summer has transitioned into a wet warm fall, so nothing has changed really. The weather in Gausdal has been amazingly bad all summer. In fact, it is the wettest summer since 1906. We have had a grand total of 9 days without a drop of rain since May.

The dogs are being troopers though. They are happy and dry in their houses and have shown no signs of hesitation when faced with the prospect of yet another training run in the rain.
Our youngest puppies seem to have excepted rain as a part of their day to day, and are just as likely to be out playing in the rain as they are to be sheltered inside their house.

We have had them inside for some dryout and socializing time.

They have gotten big, and started getting some fun personalities. Wave is the surfer dude of the group. Does his own thing and only check's in to tell us how radical what he just did was. Stream is like her Mom and makes a lot of noice just in case their is something to make noice about that she is missing. Rain is a little bit more of a mellow guy. Very friendly and very active like the rest, but more inclined to stop and notice the details, unlike Stream who wouldn't notice a nuclear bomb go off.
Puddle is a sweet heart. Very tough and small, but off all the puppies she is the one most inclined to come and snuggle.

Fall training is rolling along. The team looks great.
The puppies from last year are looking awesome now in the adult team. The biggest surprise has been Moon, our little non-discript grey female. She was a very carefull puppy, who showed some signs of uncertainty last winter as a puppy. Now she is a total rockstar. She is running in lead a bit, hard driving, smooth moving. Who'd a thunk it.
Hudson, Marble and Soline have all been pulling leader duty as well. Marble is good after we have been going for a while or with a team in front of her. Hudson is a train, just chugging along up front. And Soline takes it very seriously being in front.

Soka is back training with us a bit after having her puppies. They are almost weaned now so she has started some light training. It is a relief to have her in the team again, as she is the only experienced leader we have.

We had to say goodbye to two of our dear friends. A few weeks ago we said goodbye to George and Blåmann. They had both gotten very old over the summer, and after consulting with the vet it was decided that the best for them would be to enjoy the summer, but not have to struggle through another Norwegian winter.
George was 11 and Blåmann was 14.

We miss them both tremendously.

On a happier note we will be importing a dog from Alaska in May.
I have done the flight and travel logistics for Team Sigrid Ekran's trip to Iditarod 2012, and in exchange Sigrid agreed to bring back a dog for me.
I just needed to find the dog.

After several months of searching and thinking, I contacted DeeDee Jonrowe, who some of you may remember as the musher Kaia worked for in Alaska.
DeeDee listened to what i was looking for, asked follow up questions, slept on it and offered us Ethan (see picture).
Ethan is 6 years old. He has finished Iditarod in DeeDee's A-Team 3 times as a leader, and represents DeeDee's opinion of her best lines and dogs. Ethan damaged a wrist during training, and is out of the Iditarod pool, but is a super dog and one that will be able to train with us and more importantly contribute to our kennels genetics and future. Ethan will certainly be Ropphaugen Royalty!
The plan as it stands now is that Ethan will come to Norway in April, when Sigrid returns from Iditarod. So if everything goes as planned, Ethan will be checking out his new digs before our females come into heat!
A huge shout out and thank you to DeeDee Jonrowe for working with us! We are excited and can't wait to get Ethan here!

Updates as events warrant

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Horizons with a new team

Hi Everyone,

The summer that never was is almost over, and the air is starting to get that crisp autumn feel to it. As I sit here it is raining for the second consecutive day. That may not sounds to bad but when you consider that we have enjoyed only 6 days without rain since May 1st, I feel I have earned the right to gripe about the weather like an impotent old man. On a factual note, this has been the wettest summer in my area since 1906. Which bodes well for future summers (in theory). Rather than brave the weather and head out into the dog yard I must admit that I am sitting in bed with a cup of coffee, watching the weather come down. I stood up briefly to check, and apart from the occasional glance out, the dogs are warm and dry in their dog houses, and seemingly quite content to stay that way for the immediate future.

Speaking of the future. We have some new puppies to report.
My leader Soka has had her puppies. Four solid puppies were born exactly three weeks ago today. We were fortunate to get two males and two females. In honor of the wettest summer in 105 years, the puppies have received the following names. Puddle, Wave, Rain, and Stream. Wave looks like his mum, while the remaining three are copies of their father Langbein. I was up visiting the puppies father several days ago, and he seemed rather unmoved by the news that he has become a father for the billionth time. He regarded me with a sort of warm dissinterest, much like a elderly relative. His eye's said "That's nice dear...What was your name again?"
No matter, Soka is a wonderful mother. Attentive without being obsessive, and very gentle. I am very interested to see what the puppies we hold on to will turn out to be. The breeding is an exciting one.

Our kennel has experienced a changing of the guard the past few months. Old timers have been retired, and young upstarts have stepped in and are in the process of filling the footprints left by the retirees. Overall I would say that the team has gotten better. However, it is sad and bittersweet to say goodbye to some of our old friends. Blåmann has retired completely. Kajo and Splint left for better trails in Hemsedal with Andreas Heja. All of our borrowed dogs were returned in the spring. Now we have our core team left and one borrowed dog for the season.
With a few acceptions, the team is still known to us, as most of the "new" dogs are last years puppies. They are looking very nice so far. We had our first training run on Friday night and they are looking fantastic. Marble, my future super dog, ran in lead for the entire first run. Moon, the puppy I had the least faith in last winter has suprised me with her drive and positive attitude. Soline has guts and a beautiful gate. Onyx is head down no BS. Bronx is steady and happy. Shale is fast and light, but a little unsure if she is up towards the front. Hudson is the strongest dog I have ever owned, bar none.

During the last of our winter runs, Hudson broke three harnesses. I want to be clear... He did not chew them, or break the tig loops. He broke the stitching that held the harness together. I thought that perhaps the harnesses were getting a little old, so for Fridays run I put a newer harness on him. We didn't leave the yard before the stitching was gone. Off with that harness. I rumaged around in an old duffle-bag and found Yoda's old Nooksack harness. For those of you that know Yoda, he was my first dog and 80 pounds of pure, happy, muscle. Hudson is stronger, but Yoda weighed more. So far, Yoda's old harness has held up thanks to the quadrupple stitching I asked Kathy for all those years ago. Hudson has some big paw prints to fill if he is running with that harness. However, with his friendly attitude, and bowlingball head, he is well on his way to doing Yoda's memory in the team proud.

Apart from the puppies we have a few newbies in the team.
Øyvind Mortensen from Kirkenes has been nice enough to provide me with the dogs I needed to fill out the team.

Emi is a small (wicked small) female. Born last year. Pertified of bridges with water running under them. She was here in the beginning to see if I could get her to run. She is sweet, has a good coat, good feet, and basically became one of the gang within literally moments of arriving at the kennel. After seeing her run, she is here to stay. Emi is young. Only 18 months.

Merian is a big rangy male. He can be a bit of a wimp if he is running far up in the team and a lot is happening behind him. But he is honest, and a few kind words is all he needs to settle back into his beautiful trot.

Kill is the newest team member. With Kajo sold, Splint sold, Blåmann retired and Soka on maturnity leave, I found myself suddenly leaderless. Kill was a dog I had been eyeing at Øyvinds since he arrived at his kennel from Robert Sørlie. Luckily for me (and Øyvind), Øyvind found himself with more good dogs than he expected out of the last few years of puppies. So he needed to make some space. Øyvind has a well founded faith in his own puppies and breedings, so he decided to hold onto his own breedings first. I was lucky enough to get Kill. Kill is 2.5 years old. Has an awesome coat, awesome head and great atiitude. He is another of those rare dogs that was at home the moment he stepped into the kennel.

I am signed up for the Femundløpet 400 in February. I will have a very young team, so we will be taking it slow and fun. The speed in between checkpoints will be good, and we will rest for a long time in each checkpoint. It will be more of a training race than anything else, with the main focus being fun, and finishing. I am excited to see which of the puppies make the team.

Otherwise, the summer is slowly coming to an end, and training will be in ful swing within the week. We have a few runs under the belt so far, and are getting pumped for the season.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe late summer/early fall.

As always... Updates as events warrant.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Puppies and a New Job!

Hi everyone,

I apologize for how long between posts it has been. I have been as busy as a one armed coat hanger, and Kaia has been busy too.

I have gotten a new job!
About a month ago Tim Hunt contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in working for Dr. Tim's in Europe. I played it cool and said (very cooly) YESYESYESYES OHGODYES. He was impressed with my coolness and after interviewing with him and VP Denny Zogg, I got the job and started cracking! My official title is Barry Siragusa Boy of Destiny.
Ok, Not really...
My real official title, (honest) is European Representative for Dr. Tim's Premium Petfood.
I am basically the sales consultant for the working dog market for all of Europe!
I am thrilled and have been having a blast since I got started. After sending the emails letting all the "little people" know that I would not forget them on my rise to the top, and the following emails apologizing for letting it all go to my head, I have gotten hard to work getting Dr. Tim's into the market and stomachs of sled dogs in Europe.
Thanks to Tim and Denny for the vote of confidence!

Yesterday we picked up some puppies. Two to be Exact. Ben and Jerry are their names.
We considered Chunky Monkey and Half Baked, but in the end we went with the mundane, and Ben and Jerry it is.
The pups came from Trond Ørslien and Anita Pettersen. They are super friendly and beautiful pups. We are very greatful for the chance to corrupt young minds.

Updates as events warrant!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Home again and a new Sponsor!

Hello everyone,

I am home after 16 days in the US.
I had a great trip home. It was great to see friends and family, and meet some new friends. I met a big fluffy puppy that eats rocks, a big white dog named polar, and his brother who should be named Alpine but who answers to Big Al. All three are the newest members of the Mornington Crescent gang. Caroline and Andy have there hands full with those big fluffies.

I got to spend 4 full days with my grandma and that was wonderful.

I have been back for almost a week. The dogs are all looking great. Kaia has done a wonderful job taking care of the dogs while I was gone. They all look sleek and happy, just like they should.

Orion has officially retired and moved to life as best friend to a 2 year old and couch potato.

Soka and Langbein have been busy making puppies. I was up to Hjerkinn yesterday to pick Soka up from Øyvind Mortensens. Øyvind cooked great food, we took a sauna, and went out training some dogs.
I managed to sneak a dog away from Øyvind for the winter. Miss is her name. She is still settling in and a little unsure, but we are sure she will be fine in a few days.
She's a small gal so I was able to sneak her away in my jacket...

We are hoping to start training again within the next few months. We are waiting for the last of the dogs that are not ours to leave, and then we will be going full blast with our own dogs and our own programs!

We are pleased to announce that Ropphaugen Huskies has gotten a new Sponsor. Cody Strathe of Dog Paddle Designs will be sending an awesome sled over to us this summer. We are very excited to be working with Cody and we are sure that we will turn some heads with these awesome new sleds he is making! Barry will be racing the Dog Paddle Designs sled this winter.
For you norwegian sport fans, Cody will be at the Hakadal Seminar in August. Come and see his sleds and meet the man behind the magic.
Check out Cody's website here

Since Kaia and I will be racing at the same time, Kaia will be driving another sled. She will be running with a Tera sled made by Slovakian LGO champion Milos Gonda.

I hope everyone is having a great summer.

Cheers, Barry

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

USA, Puppies, and Cake Eating

I have been in the USA for the last week. I flew over after the death in the family. Since arriving here, I have been working hard with Dr. Tim's Premium Pet Food to get distribution deals in place in Europe.

It has been good to be back in my childhood home again for a visit. I was sorry to miss our friend Natasha Vindings confirmation, while I have been here. I wish I could say "Next time".

While I have been away, Kaia drove to our friend Oyvind Mortensens, to get Soka bred to Langbein, and we are hoping to have puppies within a few months! Kaia was the Ropphaugen delegate to Natasha's confirmation and, I am told, ate enough cake for the both of us. Which, for those of you who have seen me eat cake, is no small accomplishment.

I will write a more in depth update as soon as I am back in Norway.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful springtime!

Updates as events warrant

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Wow it is warm here now.
This is the warmest April in more than 30 years. It is usually possible to continue training well into late april here. Hopefully, this warm weather now will translate into a long and cold winter next year.

The dogs are getting restless, and I am already itching to start training again.

We have two litters planned for this summer.
The first (probably), is a to breed Soka, my top leader (Below winter), to Langbein (below summer) from Robert Sørlie.
Soka comes from Ketil Reitan, and has run Finnmarksløpet two times, Femund two times, LGO once, Gausdal Maraton, Amundsen Race, and the Arctic Barents Pilot.
Langbein needs no introduction for Norwegians. He has run 5 Iditarods with team Norway, including the two winning years with Robert Sørlie. He has also run assorted other races like Finnmarksløpet and Femundløpet. We are really excited for this breeding.

The second is dependent on which female comes into heat next.

This time last year we already had 11 puppies... So it is a little strange to be without any at the moment.

Updates as events warrant...

Monday, April 25, 2011


Hey Everyone

Well it has been a fun few weeks. Kaia has been off on Easter Vacation for a week, and the dogs have been enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures.

The training season is totally over for now. We will take a few months off and start on truck training again in August.

We said goodbye to Harry last week. Not to worry though, he is back leading tourist trips with Ketil Reitan. We tried Harry for an entire winter and decided that, even though he was a good dog with a lot of heart, he just didn't suit. We had a lot of fun with Harry and we are glad that he is enjoying himself back on his home turf.

While one dog went, another came back! Sprint (See right and up) came beack to us from the previous kennel we worked at. He was one of my main guys while I was there, running through the Gausdal Maraton race with me two years in a row. That Kennel is selling out of dogs, and Sprint was taken as a trade for Barry posting the dogs up for sale in the US. Sprint has a lot of history. Not just with me but here in Norway. Sprint has run (and won) the Femundløpet, Norwegian Sprint Championships, European Sprint championships, Swedish Sprint Championships, Pirena Race, and Finnmarksløpet. He ran the Femund and Finnmark with Robert Sørlie. So this is a dog with a nice resumè! It is good to have the old guy back! He will stand as a stud at Ropphaugen Huskies. Price for breeding? 10,000,000,000,000,000 dollars. (worth a try)

The rest of the dogs are doing great. the girls with the longest coats, Soline and Moon (see below) are rather too warm, but are all in all quite content to sleep and bark the days away.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ridderrenet and Spring Time

Hey Everyone,

So spring is officially here. It is sunny, and very warm. The dogs are asleep on their houses, and the kennel is almost entirely empty of snow. I have been in Beitosølen for the last week together with The Vom og Hundemat Team, we have been giving rides to people with handicaps. We had two amazing groups that the people came from. One was a youth group and the other was a newly injured group. I was impressed by their positive outlooks and real strength.

All together it was me, Marte Heilemann, Sigrid Ekran, Robert Sørlie, Elin Pedersen, Marit Stratton, Gunnar Martinsen, Hans-Petter Ruud, and Roy Storli giving rides. Roy was a part of the military that helped organize the entire week. It was a beautifull place and a wonderfull event.

We took all of Sigrids puppies with us to Beitostølen so that she could try them out and take them back to Folldall with her when we were done. We kept one of the puppies, Soline (see Right). The rest are off to her kennel to train for big races and big goals. I hope Sigrid has as much fun with them as we did while they were here.

We are really excited to have Soline, in the beginning she was not one of my favorites because she was loud and acted like kind of a bitch sometimes! She has matured into a great dog with a ton of guts. I am really excited to have her and i think she will grow up to great things!

When we were not training or running trips, the entire gang in Beitostølen sat around talking about dogs and racing and training and everything else that came up. It was a great experience to get to know the group and I hope to see them all again soon! At the very least next year at the same time and place.

Thanks to Marte Heilemann and Roy Storli for the invite. Thanks to Gunnar Martinsen for cooking dinner almost every night. Thanks to Robert Sørlie, Ellen Pedersen, Marit Stratton and Hans Petter Ruud for great conversation and company. And a Special thanks to Sigrid for letting me drive up with her and for the last year of puppy training. We are proud of these pups and thrilled to see what they become under her capable guidence.

Check out the Ridderrenet website here

Monday, March 28, 2011


Hey Everyone,

Check out the interview Barry did with


We hope everyone is having a great spring so far.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring and young dog pictures!

Spring is here!

It is spring here. The temps are in the 50's and 60's during the day. The trails are getting rough, and the dogs are getting warm.

We are still in swing with training. The puppies are the main focus now. We are not training far, never more than 15 kms, but we are training very deliberately with lots of variation with emphasis on good behavior and most of all fun.

Our training philosophy is that the first year we take it super easy. If we make it only fun and no pressure, the pups will have nothing but good memories of running and will have a good mental and emotional foundation to build on next year when we start training longer runs and running them through some races.

Here are pictures of some of the gang, both adults and puppies.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Some thoughts on the Winter, Ekran, Sørlie, and Wærner

Hey Everyone,

Well the last few weeks have been exciting ones for us. The race season here in Norway has been at it's peak and is starting to wind down now.

We have been concentrating on all of our young puppies, and have not run any races after the Vikerfjell race in January. We have been having a blast with these pups and are dreading the approach of May when we will have to say goodbye to more than half of them as they go back to their owners. We are lucky to be able to hold on to 7 or 8 in total and that will be a great bonus for us as we build up our own racing team over the next few years.

We are thrilled to report that our friend Sigrid Ekran won the Femundløpet in february and has just yesterday crossed the finish line of the finnmarksløpet 1000 in 2nd place, 50 minutes behind "Mr. Finnmarksløpet" Roger Dahl. Sigrid has matured a ton as a racer these last two seasons and has left no doubt in anyones mind that she is a top competitor and musher. The puppies we have from Sigrid are among the very best pups of the more than 100 puppies I have trained in my career.

Robert Sørlie came second in the Femundløpet and 3rd in the finnmarksløpet! Against some very stiff competition Robert has again shown how this sport is done. There are very few people who do as well, as consistantly, as Robert does. His longevity in this sport is amazing, and he is what we call in the USA "A dangerous dog man". What it means is that you can never underestimate Robert. The moment you underestimate Robert or his dogs, you have lost the race.

Our friend's Thomas and Birgitte Wærner at kennel berserk, have had an amazing season. They have made the switch from sprint to long distance, and have worked with amazing patience and dedication to attain their goals of becoming one of the top long distance racing teams in Norway. This year they are enjoying the benefits of all of that hard work. Thomas has placed 3rd in Femundløpet and 5th in Finnmarksløpet. We are so happy for them and wish them the best of luck and most success in the years to come.

We are proud to run the same trails as mushers of this caliber!

Congratulations one and all!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Hey Everyone,

So the sun has come back to Ropphaugen again. It came back for a few minutes about two weeks ago. I heard a sudden uproar in the kennel and ran out think that something was in the kennel. The puppies were all standing and barking at their shadows. They were born last spring, but i guess it had been a while.

The dogs are enjoying some slow and easy spring training. Usually we would not start with the spring training until, well, spring. This year we have so many puppies in training and no more races that we are planning on doing, that it makes sense to take it slower and enjoy the time out with the dogs and not worry about milage as much.

This has been a good light training season. The dogs have a bit over 2,500 miles of training since late September when we started training. They have gotten a little tired of running up and down the mountain we live on, so we are starting to travel a lot during the weekends. It is great to travel and train in new places and get to see many of our mushing friends who do not live close by.

We have a lot of friends who are competing in the Finnmarksløpet this week. The Finnmarksløpet is Europes longest race, and the worlds northern-most race as well.
We wish Sigrid Ekran, Nina Skramstad, Robert Sørlie, Ketil Reitan, Thomas Wærner, Elisabeth Edlund, Atle Bjerke, Bertil Nyheim, Emil Inauen, and all the other contestents a good run and healthy dogs!

We are also closely following the Iditarod this year! Lance Mackey is going for his fifth straight victory in Iditarod, Hans Gatt is trying to win his first to top off a steller career. Dallas Seavey is coming off of an impressive rookie Yukon Quest win to try and win his first Iditarod title.
Magnus Kaltenborn is representing Norway and running Martin Busers youngsters. All in all it should be a exciting race!

Our puppies are looking great, we could not be happier with how well the are doing in harness and how much fun they have while we are out! It makes it so much easier to have a blast too.

I have been on the job hunt and have finally started getting called into interviews. Hopefully something comes of that soon.

Kaia is working hard at the kindergarten and coming home and training puppies with me in the afternoons. She will hopefully start a new position as a teacher at the Lillehammer Steinarskole in a few months.

Sorry for the lack of pictures. It would seem that blogger is not uploading pictures at the moment.

Updates as events warrant.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Hi Everyone,

Things have settled down quite a bit now that the Gausdal Marathon is finished.
The dogs got a few days of well deserved rest and I started planning for my own race.

The weekend after Gausdal Marathon, I ran the Vikerfjelløpet.

It did not go as planned!

We loaded up the dogs and drove down to Vikerfjell at 4:00 AM, to be there in time for the mushers meeting at 8:30.
I had borrowed two dogs from Stig Kampesveen, and one of them had gotten kennel cough the night before the race, so I was forced to run Splint instead of Morgan.
We had a nice chat with some friends before the race, and I was glad to see that the pre-race-nerves that had plagued me so during Marathon, were not bad at all at Vikerfjell.

We hooked up the dogs and I left the starting line at 9:46. The dogs looked amazing. They were like an out of control freight train. Whether we were going up or down or flat, the dogs were averaging 17-19 km per hour. I was holding them back and letting the leaders set the pace, and went out slower to allow the old boy in the team, Laffen, to warm up and get all his blood pumping.

We made it to the halfway point in under 2 hours, and suddenly Freya who was in lead got sick.
I certainly would not want to run a sick dog, so into the sled bag she went. So suddenly the poor team had another 25kg in the sled that they now needed to pull all the way back.

I was quite worried about Freya, and the dogs sensed that I think because they set a very fast pace back. We had a big hill halfway back that we had just reached the top of when the sled I had borrowed broke. The handle bar snapped in my hands, and the team went on their merry way without me.

Much to my surprise, Soka (my super dog) turned around and saw that I was not there. She stopped the team, nice and smooth. No tangles, no nothing!

We came back to the finish/start and had Freya checked. She was fine, just stressed they said.
It seemed odd to me that even though I let her set the pace, and the pace was one I knew she could keep up for longer than the race, that she still got so stressed that she started to vomit and fall apart.

Thanks again to Stig and Atle for the loan of a dog each for the Vikerfjell race. Laffen is an awesome old dog.

Anyway, since then we have been doing fun runs and training the puppies a ton. One of the puppies is running in lead on the easy fun bits of trail, and we have big hopes for her being a leader in the future!

We have a race coming up in a few weeks, and should be ready and rearing to go.

I hope everyone is having as much fun as I am having running puppies!


Monday, January 10, 2011

3rd place in Gausdal Marathon 2011!

Hi Everyone!

Kaia and the team came in 3rd place in Gausdal Marathon 2011!

The trails were slow, it was snowing the entire race, and the start was later in the afternoon than anticipated, so they ran almost entirely in the dark. We had some dogs catch kennel cough in the days leading up to the race, and they were not looking good enough to run so we were lucky to be able to borrow 2 dogs from last years champion, Sigrid Ekran, and one dog from Atle Bjerke.
The dog from Atle was a dog we had run before, so we knew what to expect from him and he knew what to expect from us. The two from Sigrid are fantastic dogs, but were a little thrown off by suddenly running in a race with dogs and a musher they didn't know. They would have gone like crazy if we had done the full marathon, but because they didn't know Kaia, they held back a little on the way out, but finished strong and happy! Thanks to Sigrid and Atle for the loans!

All in all the stars of the team were our leader Soka, Epo, Harry and Laffen (the borrowed dog from Atle). Orion did not pull at all the entire race.

The weekend was fun for me too. I helped Kaia get out, and spent some time doing some interviews for an upcoming mushing magazine article that I am writing about the marathon.
Lars Monsen, Inger Marie Haaland, Sigrid Ekran, Nina Skramstad, Marit Beate Kasin, Bjørn Barlund, Thomas Wærner, and Stein Haavard Fjestad, were among the mushers nice enough to take time to chat with me.

After all the teams had left, I was interviewed by Meho Sortland of, and then drove to the checkpoint Astridbekken, and began translating the race updates on the Gausdal Marathon website. After wrestling with internet connectivity problems for a while, it was time to take a break and go and cheer the first teams into the checkpoint.

Just after 9:50 pm Kaia and the team crossed the finishline. She looked thrilled and tired, and the dogs looked happy. the good dogs in the team looked ready tp go out and do it again!

We are just thrilled with how things went, and would like to thank Atle Bjerke for loaning us Laffen who ran in lead the entire way. Sigrid Ekran for loaning us Sezar and BMW. The Vinding family for the use of their sled (after I smashed ours to splinters while training) and numerous other thinsg they have helped us with. Plus our sponsers: Especially, Dr. Tim Hunt and Momentum dog food, and JB Utstyr for the Working Dog race jackets. Inga-marie Mynors for sponsering the entry fee, and everyone else who helped us get there this year.

A special big thank you to Are Dons Søvik for helping out the entire weekend and acting as super-handler while I was translating the webpages.

it may seem like a small thing to run a race, but it meant a lot to us to make it there, and we are thrilled to have had a good race.
So thanks to everyone!

Cheers, Barry and Kaia

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Winter Update

Apologies for the lack of posts the last few months!

We have been out training as much as we can the past few months in preparation for the Gausdal Marathon which will start on the 8th of January.
Despite some injuries and a bout of kennel cough, we have still had an ok training season. As of todays date we have 1123 miles of training on the dogs. We didn't start training seriously this season until the middle of October, so we are very happy with the amount of training the dogs have on them, considering everything.

Kajo and Jago have both been injured. Kajo we are still a bit unsure what is wrong. She suddenly started pulling back on her neckline. We can't find any physical injuries, so we are giving her some good time off before starting her up again.
Jago decided that he hated the dog he lived with and start a fight. He missjudged his room mate though and got his but torn up...literally. So Jago will use the next months healing and trying to find a comfortable way to sit down. We are confident he will be able to do both in good time.

The puppies are looking great. We are having a ton of fun when we are out with them, and looking forward to doing some longer training with them in the spring. Right now we are running them just a few miles. We won't push them at all this season because we want them to get the idea that running is great fun. This will set them up well for the future, and what bright futures they have!

Yesterday I did a podcast with Mushing Magazine. That was a lot of fun! Podcasts are something i listen too but not something I am familiar with in other ways, so it was very interesting to be interviewed for a podcast. The interview should be online within the next few weeks.
check it out at:

I will be covering the Gausdal Marathon for Mushing magazine this year. It will be a lot of fun helping out at the checkpoints and handling for Kaia as well as interviewing other mushers, and taking photographs. In the upcoming Mushing issue, will be my interview with Sigrid Ekran. This is one of my favorites!

We have finally started feeding Dr. Tim's Momentum dog food. We are thrilled to be feeding such a good food to the dogs. They are eating well which is awesome, and they are putting on weight, which after the last six weeks with temps down to -30, is a very good thing!

Our new Working Dog jackets came for the dogs a few days ago. We are really looking forward to running the dogs with these jackets and would just like to thank JB Utstyr for sponsering Team Ropphaugen with these jackets! Kodiak models on the right in the harshest of conditions!!

I will update everyone after the race this weekend!

A bit late perhaps but: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us at Ropphaugen!

Below is a video of a Christmas day trip with the puppies! I think they all look great!