Pilot, Accountant and Musher: Ryne Olson does it all

TWO RIVERS, Alaska (KTUU) - Just off Mile 21 of Chena Hot Springs Road, you’ll find the small town of Two Rivers, home to musher Ryne Olson and her 45 dogs

"Parents wouldn't like me saying this, but It's literally like having a bunch of kids,” said Olson.

Saturday will be the 28-year-old's third Yukon Quest, with a mix of young and old dogs making up the veteran's team.

The Quest is known for being one of two 1,000-mile sled dog races in Alaska. This year, the race begins in Fairbanks and ends in White Horse, Yukon Territory.

Early trail reports show lots of snow at the beginning of the trail, along with bitter cold temperatures in the interior.

When Channel 2 interviewed Olson at her kennel, just walking distance from the trail, it was -30 degrees, which is why Olson says she doesn’t bring a thermometer on the trail.

“My mind tells me, ‘Yes you are going to be cold when you go outside,’ but if you go out with that mindset, you are going to be cold,” Olson said.

This perseverance is how Olson became a musher, coming to Alaska from Colorado to work at Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore's kennel.

"When I worked with Allen and Aliy, they let me run their young dogs in the Iditarod, and once I finished it was like, 'OK, what's next?" said Olson.

Moving quickly, Olson began her next adventure, becoming a bush pilot, by getting her pilot’s license.

"Now I want to start a kennel, but I'm broke, so I want to find a way to pay for all these fun things I want to do," said Olson

Olson then enrolled at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to study accounting. After graduating and finding a job, Olson would balance being an accountant and training a dog team.

“So during tax season February, March, April, the busiest time of year my boss was like, ‘Yep take off, go compete in 1,000 mile races, we’ll follow you, I’ll sponsor the kennel, just come back and work in the summers,' " said Olson. "The joke was I was a tax accountant who skipped tax season."

These days Olson is able to focus on her kennel full time, giving her a chance to take care of business out on the trail.



 
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