"One Dog Class"
I am basically proposing a new race. Modern day dog races are just about developing and packaging the magic of racing dogs and training dogs and the culture and history and selling it like its any other resource through tourism or any other means and its become a money game and has nothing to do with preserving working with dogs in tune with the landscape and environment. The guy from the bush with little economic resources but with deep subsistence understanding would probably do really well at this race and it would also really appeal to artists etc from other areas who want to spend some time in Alaska or the Yukon and have some sort of professional artistic inclination and want to seek to better understand the world here and build a body of artistic work that reflects that understanding. And a great thing for all local young people to learn good life skills through, to be sure...
Basically you would have to rescue a dog, build a house (cabinporn got some good examples), make snowshoes or skis from scratch or try, live off the land or close to it for a winter, than cross Alaska unsupported (not sending stuff ahead). Give the dog and the house away after words. Do this real low budget, with nothing or as close to nothing as possible. You get points for a good house and no money spent and a fast trip across alaska with snowshoes you made from scratch.
This would honor and preserve the way of life out there. The Alaskan way of life.
A rough outline for a vision for Social Entrepreneurship program year long race hybrid that rewards subsistence skills and good values and brings dog racing back to its traditional roots and connection with nature. Makes it so anyone can connect meaningfully to the history and culture of working with dogs in Alaska and the Yukon, living off the land with principles, learning self reliance, rescuing dogs, building homes for people in need with local or salvaged materials. How many dogs could a modern day dog musher support if they were living off the land?
This race program might be a better way to measure skill and fitness than todays thousand mile sled dog races which have evolved into a materialistic system and money game of who can accumulate the most sponsors or best work the tourist market etc to fund their 'racing' efforts... or perhaps better yet this concept could integrate with them as the one and only qualifier accessible to anyone who embodies the true spirit of the north. Additionally in terms of the other races like the Iditasport participants may be physically fit but their woodsman-ship skills and connection to Alaska is in question, and this race would obviously be more relevant in terms of preserving history and a way of life than racing machines in the Irondog. (Participants in all four major races currently utilize shelter and hospitality in villages, perhaps they should go live in the village for a year and immerse themselves in the rural economies and build a house and give it away to understand context and thus establish the fifth race and fifth and final star. Returning the core of the adventure race evolution back to their most challenging element of just having to live and survive in the natural environment). This race could coexist with the existing races.
Live pure subsistence or close to it, build a home to live in for the winter with minimal tools than give it away to the community to be used for housing people in need, adopt a dog from the shelter for the journey than find him a home in the spring, try to make snowshoes and or skis from scratch. Make an unsupported spring pilgrimage across Alaska. A true adventure and challenge for the worthy.
Would balance well with many seasonal workers schedules and reward good behaviors and values and empower participants and communities toward meaning and awareness. A great coming of age experience for young Alaskans, and also most definitely could be the ultimate couples fitness test and a great way to test a relationship.
I sense this will develop best at first as a loosely organized decentralized movement, like skaters or artists or wandering yogis who do their thing for the sake of doing it, the reward being the experience itself (ala peace corps) rather than some prize (in other words a prize like a hybrid car or something might attract the wrong people for the wrong reasons). The opportunity to live with intention close to nature and explore the limits of self growth. Participants taking pride in their minimalist style and low budget results. Something people can self document any way they choose to, through writing or blogs or photography or music or films, but not something that will ever become a reality tv show. Something deeper than the current slate of Alaskan adventure races. An indigenous way of living that is ancient, one that honors the earth.
(background instrumental by Global Oneness Project from their 12 12 12 video)