ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Iditarod begins in 92 days, but one of the biggest names in the sport will not be there. Dallas Seavey says he will be in Norway racing in the Finnmarkslopet.
“This is definitely something we’ve been thinking about for some amount of time,” Seavey said over the phone Thursday. “I think we were looking at the Iditarod fairly strongly, but as things have gone on, we are going to Norway.”
In October the Iditarod Trail Committee announced that Dallas Seavey’s dog team tested positive for a banned substance.
Shortly after, on Oct. 24, Seavey told KTUU that he would not be participating in the 2018 Iditarod.
At that time, Channel 2 asked the four-time champion if he would ever race in the Iditarod again.
“I see myself racing this again down the road, but I’m not going to race under this leadership,” he said.
Seavey says the Finnmarkslopet has been on his to-do list for a while, and after he made the decision to sit out the Iditarod, the Norwegian race became an opportunity.
“Within the last week to 10 days,” he said. “Somewhere in there this thing became a definite, not just a maybe.”
The Willow musher says he hasn’t spoken to the Iditarod about his plans to race in Norway, and has only communicated with the Iditarod regarding drug test results.
“Trying to attain information for the possible drug test, or what was maybe a possible drug test. That's what we are trying to find out now.”
The Finnmarkslopet is a 1200 km race (745 mi.) -- a shorter race with a higher tempo, Seavey claims.
“To this point our training has been somewhat neutral,” he said.
The 30-year-old musher says he is also excited about expanding the sport of dog mushing, and helping it grow as a whole.
On top of the new opportunity, the race offers plenty of new challenges.
“The biggest challenge is going to be logistics and moving a whole pile of dogs, and myself over to Norway. That’s a long trip,” said Seavey.
The musher doesn’t know yet when he’ll travel to Norway, but plans to be there well ahead of when the race begins on March 9, 2018.