Mille Porsild uses sled dog expedition experience to make push for Iditarod Rookie of the Year

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Ruby, AK (KTUU) Running the Iditarod is hard enough. Think about how it must feel to a rookie. Most people would say the Iditarod is grueling. A true test of a musher and their dog team. Rookie Mille Porsild describes it differently.

"The biggest difference is, this is total luxury," she said with a grin. "Don't get me wrong, it's hard for other reasons, the sleep deprivation is the biggest deal."

But to Porsild, the sleep deprivation is a small price to pay for the beauty that she's getting to behold.

"Going through this unbelievable landscape, I mean, until you run it, it doesn't sink in how astonishing it is," she said.

Porsild has experience running sled dog expedition teams, but says the Iditarod is a different beast.

"Coming from expeditions, you always think safety. I'm like, this is crazy. It's insanely amazing, I think is more correct than insanely fun," she laughed.

She's in contention for 2020 Rookie of the Year, and while her experience with expedition sled dogs has her prepared for the elements, she says Iditarod dogs require a very different approach by comparison.

"These are like Nascars, race cars. They respond on the slightest little thing, they're incredible at what they do. Expedition dogs are more stubborn. They don't react in the same pattern," she said. "But it's actually that stubbornness that when you're standing in the wide open space and you're like, okay. So, they use the sun, they use the snow drifts, everything around them to figure out which direction they're going. "

For now, there's only one direction for Porsild. That's north to Nome.

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