Recent USFSS Happenings
February 23, 2015
is Monday Feb 23rd and as the snow is now mixed with
rain and everyone is enjoying what they can of a 'day
off', it's time for an update.
have seen from our posts on Facebook, the crowds have
been fantastic and the racing has been exciting. Jessica
has really shown how much good a trip to Norway can be
for someone who is working with a pulk. Her transition
from pulk to skijor was as good as anyone from Norway
and far better than most of the competitors from Europe
and elsewhere. Jessica raced in the 1 dog Friday, the 1
dog combine on Saturday and did the 8k skijor leg for a
mixed team including Susannah Kelley and Vicki from the
UK. Tomorrow she takes on day 1 of the two dog skijor.
Kisselof proves to be the fastest American skijor racer at
the games with 4 minutes on Dallas and myself on the 16k
course on Friday. He finished in 17th place. Dallas and
Comet finished 9 seconds ahead of myself and Rich's great
dog Ovi. Rich and I rounded out the top 20 with a 19th and
20th place. We all can take a bit of pride in beating all
of the 5 German skijor racers. The course was fairly warm
on Friday and several dogs had issues with the heat and
long steady uphill climbs. Vesa-Pekka from Finland
defended his first place finish in Alaska with another win
of just 3.8 seconds over a young and upcoming 20 year old
Norweigan racer named Mikal.
entered the relay without two of her pups and we are all
grateful that Jessica loaned Amy her dog Argo so that Team
USA could carry on with getting much needed experience in
mass starts and relays. The relay was 8k skijor, 8k skijor
and 8k 4 dog. Dallas led off for Team USA and Rich followed.
We were among 8 other teams to get a warning for nor
following the IFSS rules of holding your dog's harness for
75 meters and single poling at the start. Other teams
included essentially everyone but Norway. So Steiner (race
marshall) decided to give verbal warnings with firm
instructions to teach our people (and people everywhere)
what the standard mass start racing technique should be when
starting with skijor or combined.
Norway took 1
& 2 in the relay, followed by 3 young racers in their early
20's from Switzerland and a very fast team from the Czech
dominating the medal count but there are very promising young
racers from several european countries. Jordan and I are filming
and interviewing many of the best and we are finding that though
their dogs mainly are greysters from Lena's bloddlines,
federations such as the Swiss are focusing on two week training
camps around New Year's which bring all of their racers - young
and old - together to work on techniques, share dogs and
training techniques, and build skills through hands on
experience and mentorship. It is paying off in a big way.
Amy's four dog
team should be rested up and ready for the three day race
beginning Friday-Sunday. Rich and Jessica compete in the two dog
for two days starting tomorrow. Egil and Helen arrive Tuesday
night and will be staying at our guest lodge in Todtmoos. Clint
and Mandy Graham from Australia arrive tomorrow as well and will
be staying with us to cheer on the team.
The venue in
Todtmoos is closer than where it has been for the races in Bernau.
We have seen 6,000 plus spectators, walking all around the course
and cheering on competitors. In Todtmoos the numbers should be even
were held last Thursday in an auditorium and the regional band (50
plus - flutes, trumpets, french horns, etc) played. The caterer had a
small menu and drink/food was not free. Dinner was 8 or 9 euros. Many
but not all attended and the cost of the food was a bit of a surprise.
Free champagne was served at the door and the mood was festive with
speeches from the Mayor of Bernau and a flag ceremony by the
youngsters. There was no parade (to our disappointment) but Amy Cooper
had us ready with small flags to wave etc.
Saturday after Day 2 of
racing was an outdoor awards ceremony at 1900 followed by a great big
dinner (same menu as Thursday night = ham/kraut, hearty soup and
sausage, meat goulash with gravy plus bread) in the huge tent near the
finish at the main venue. This time the food and drink were free and
everyone ate until they were satisfied and the catering crew did "the
wave" with their 35 employees. It was a beautiful night.
We will have another such
night on Saturday the 27th in Todtmoos and I am excited to be there. We
are gaining much needed experience and perhaps inspiration as well to
bring a bit more professionalism to our local regions as mass starts (esp
in skijoring) are becoming a bit more popular. Many discussions and brain
storming sessions about how the US in general can 'get it together' have
kept us up to the wee hours of the morning but what a fantastic time to do
so. Everything is exciting and the level of racing reminds us that save
for Amy & Egil, the rest of us are just honored to be in the same races as
these elite racers and their lightning fast power dogs.
Hope all is well with you
and pray for us that the temps drop and this awful new rain/snow lets up so
our skijor racers can have a great clean run.
Best to all and many thanks
for your support both in making this happen and giving your time to keep USFSS
alive and well.
February 3, 2015
Effective immediately through the month of February,
the membership dues from all new USFSS memberships, club or individual, will
be used to offer financial assistance to Team USA for the costs associated
with their participation at the World Championships in Germany. What an
awesome opportunity to help support your US athletes and receive the full
benefit of USFSS membership as well. We thank you so much for taking
advantage of this opportunity. Our athletes will do their best to make you
proud of your decision to support their efforts.
November 18, 2014
To All Interested
The USFSS board has made the following selections to
represent the US at the 2015 World Championship on snow to be hosted by
Germany in Bernau/Todtmoos, Germany.
It is with great honor we announce Amy Cooper Sled
Sprint 4-dog and Sled Sprint 4-Dog Short Mass; Richard Kisseloff Skidog 1-
Dog Skijoring and Skidog 2-Dog Skijoring; Jessica Haynes Skidog 1-Dog
Skijoring, Skidog 2- Dog and Skidog Combined; Dallas Johnson Skidog 1-Dog
Skijoring, Skidog 2-dog Skijoring and Skidog Combined; Kale Casey
We are very pleased to have such a high caliber of
athletes willing to commit extensive resources for the benefit of
representing our country. We are confident they will all be great
ambassadors of our sport and country.
Amy Cooper and Kale Casey will be the US Team
Captains. Amy will also assist with travel and hotel accommodation
arrangements. Mike Marsch will provide technical support before and during
In closing congratulations to these fine athletes who
have achieved a high standard of success on the trail to earn their place on
The USFSS Board
October 22, 2014
The United States Federation
of Sleddog Sports (USFSS) has developed criteria which will be used in the
selection process of Team USA (see the link to the left). The full
implementation of these criteria will not happen immediately. However, we
have begun the process of developing a World Cup circuit in all regions of
the US so all interested athletes will have the opportunity to earn a berth
on the team. The selection committee will still have some flexibility to
include athletes from regions where full development of these criteria has
The reason we are moving in
this direction for the selection of Team USA is based on the request from
athletes to have more specific criteria so they know and can plan to
accomplish their place on the US team. An advantage of developing these
criteria is to make for a more exciting race circuit for the benefit of
sponsors and race giving organizations.
Participating in a World
Championship will not interest everyone. There are many ways for athletes
to enjoy and participate in our great sport other than in a WCh.
Participation requires a major commitment in time and money and
unfortunately USFSS has not generated the financial resources to help
supplement the cost of participation. We continue to explore a revenue
stream, but it has been challenging thus far.
The idea of a World
Championship is intended to create a competition between other countries
from around the globe. For those of us who have participated, there’s not a
more exciting competition than a WCh. You not only feel the joy of
individual accomplishment, but the team atmosphere and patriotic success is
USFSS is encouraging the
entire sleddog community to get involved and help Team USA reach its goals
and objectives. USFSS is striving to develop a competitive federation on
the trail and a fair and equitable process for athletes who desire to pursue
participation on the team.
In closing USFSS is a member
driven organization. We exist to represent you the athlete and the country
we love. If you feel we are going in the wrong direction or are not
responding to your concerns, let us know or better yet, consider running for
a board seat or volunteering to sit on a committee.
September 1, 2014
IFSS DID's - Driver Identification
Any athlete who wants to earn World Cup points
or participate in the World or Continental Championships must have a DID
(Driver Identification Number). The DID shall be requested from IFSS by the
member federation (USFSS). More information can be found here:
Forms and instructions can be found under the
DID link on the left.
August 25, 2014
2015 IFSS WINTER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!
is proud to announce we are now accepting applications for the 2015 WCh Snow
to be held in Germany February 21-March 1. The skidog events, mid-distance
and 4-dog mass start will be held in Bernau February 20-25. The sprint events
will be held in Todtmos February 27-March 1, 2015.
application deadline is November 1, 2014. Selections will be made no later
than December 1, 2014. You need to be a USFSS member to apply. I have also
attached a DID application you should fill out and return with your race
application. The DID fee is $40. It is required to participate in an IFSS
event. We are not aware of what financial assistance will be available to
help with travel expense at this time. As usual it will only help offset the
cost. Unfortunately, you will be on your own to raise the majority of the
money associated with your participation. If you have the resources, this
could be a once in a life time opportunity. We will be considering character
as much as performance in our selection process. So if you have the means to
attend, please don’t hesitate to submit an application. The great thing
about Germany is the point of entry is much easier concerning humans and
dogs. We will not have as much red tape to jump through as was the case for
Norway in 2011.
I’m making Championship announcements, I would like to make you aware of the
submission of a bid from the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce in Cable,
Wisconsin to host the 2017 WCh snow. How exciting will it be to once again
have a WCh in the lower 48 of the USA? We understand there will also be a bid
from Canada, but the worst case scenario is the losing bidder will host the
2016 Continental Championships. The next 2 years will be an extremely exciting
opportunity for our sport, lots of exposure.
been a slow process. We lack human and financial resources to be everything
we’d like to be, but now is the time for the entire sleddog community of our
country: distance, sprint and skidog, to come together and begin the
planning of these events. Please consider this an invitation to get
involved. My contact information is in this email.
closing, we have a US team for a 2015 WCh to field first. If we want the
World to come to North America in 2017, we should show up there in 2015.
USFSS can’t wait to hear from you. Please be certain to submit all fees. If
you are not selected the race fee will be returned. All other fees are
August 21, 2014
2015 IFSS WINTER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!
The best athletes from countries around the world will come together to
compete in the World Championships on snow at two locations in Germany. The
first location will be Bernau on February 20-22 and 24-25, and the second
Todtmoos on February 27-28 and March 1, 2015.
All details of classes, distances and entry fees are now finalized and are
contained in the Invitation Package below.
July 15, 2014
My name is Mike Marsch. I have been honored for the past
three years to be the USFSS President. I’ve been a board member for 6 years. I
have a simple philosophy; if it’s broke fix it, if it’s not broke break it, and
then fix it. During the 30 years I’ve been involved in our sport, the status
quo has always limited our ability to think out of the box, to make adjustments,
to move forward. We get comfortable in the way we do things, but by my
assessment, our sport is in trouble. We have fewer racers, fewer spectators and
fewer dollars. What’s a sport to do?
We need to maximize our limited resources. The sleddog
community must develop a strategic plan. Back in the early 90’s I remember a
planning seminar that was held down in Chicago, so the sleddog community from
all over the country could come together and sort through our future. It may be
time for one of those seminars again. I’m certain many excellent ideas and
strategies for their implementation would come out of a gathering of the minds,
but the real question is do we have a workforce to carry them out. Most
organizations in our country have declining membership, and it’s the same
volunteer group who take up challenge after challenge. We need an infusion of
new people willing to work towards making sleddog sports visible to the general
populous and what better way is there to accomplish that, than through a World
As I tune into the final soccer match today between
Germany and Argentina, I reflect on the past month of matches which included the
United States. Is it the sport of soccer or is it support for our country that
has helped propel the attention this World Cup has received within the US? The
answer is probably both, but the non-soccer fan is all in because of the desire
to see the US do well against other countries. Whether we love soccer or our
country most of the time doesn’t matter, we love it in the moment.
IFSS is the international organization that is responsible
to bring the world together for the purpose of World Championships. The USFSS
is the organization within the US that is responsible to build our team. US
soccer has really advanced in our country, but unfortunately most sleddog sports
have not. Yes, the Iditarod is still popular and dryland events are growing,
but the sport in general is stagnating.
There have been many over the years that have stated,
sleddog sports will never get into the Olympics. It doesn’t have to, we have a
system with the intent of creating the euphoria of a World Championship already
in place, but we have to promote it.
I know you’re probably tired of my soccer references, but
it’s a great analogy right now because of the FIFA WCp. US soccer 20 years ago
was pale in its ability to compete with other countries on a world stage. We
weren’t very good, but the US soccer program developed a comprehensive strategy
to improve the skill level and popularity of the game in our country.
Congratulations to them, it seems to have worked. I don’t have all the answers,
but I have a good idea of what needs to get done. The model for developing a
sport is the easy part, getting people to do the work is the hard part.
In closing, I’d like to see the individuals and
organizations currently engaged in our sport come together for a weekend of
comprehensive strategic planning. Hire a Professional Facilitator who can guide
us through the process of developing a comprehensive plan. We have become too
fractioned in our efforts. We have many good people and organizations involved
in the sport. We have many good events and sleddog activities going on within
our sport, but it lacks cohesion. We have such limited resources available to
us. I just feel for those of us who care about our sports direction we need to
come together and sort out our future. A conference of this nature 23 years ago
accomplished a great deal, I think it could again. We need lead dogs and team
dogs!! Yes, it would be an investment of perhaps a $1,000 for the weekend with
airfare, hotel, food and the conference, but isn’t our sport worth it? I’m open
to other ideas which could accomplish the intent of this conference, such as
regional workshops, but the format we used last time worked well. There were
over 150 participants from all over NA who for 2 ½ days brainstormed what our
sport should look like, and how we get it to look that way.
I feel the time is now to revisit our past and plan for our
future. We can develop a comprehensive plan in many different ways, but the
time is now to embrace the process. Anyone else interested?
August 15, 2013
USFSS Holds Biennial Congress
By Sally O’Sullivan Bair
Harrisburg, PA – June 29, 2013, saw a skeleton crew
assembled for the biennial congress of the USFSS (US Federation of Sleddog
Sports). Held in conjunction with ISDRA’s (International Sled Dog Racing
Association) annual conference, three main items were on the agenda:
revision/simplification of the bylaws, the election of the open positions for
board directors, and discussion on the feasibility of staging a US championship.
The bylaws were revised to simplify the membership and
voting representation. Previously, each category of membership was allotted an
aggregate vote number. Now, all that is required for voting is that 20% of those
voting be Active Athlete members (those who have entered competition within the
last ten years). This 20% representation is a requirement of the USOC (US
Olympic Committee). A credentials report will verify the correct percentage.
The bylaw revision also made provisions for voting between
congresses and absentee voting. Geographic distances in the US frequently
preclude members from attending a congress in person. Therefore, it was deemed
prudent to allow for absentee voting, thus making for better representation on
important issues and votes.
Although the USFSS Board is tasked with handling all the
business between congresses, there may arise occasions where the input of all
members on important votes would be desired or required. Therefore, the Congress
passed a bylaw to provide for this.
In addition to the bylaw revisions and election of board
members, the congress also discussed staging a National Championship (NCh) in
2016. Various ideas were raised, primarily associated with a venue and
Election results are as follows:*
The Active Athletes Council re-elected Amy Cooper of
Holmen, Wisconsin, to the board for another four-year term. An eighteen-year
veteran of the sport, Cooper has become a name on the limited sprint circuit in
Nome (sled) style and Nordic skijoring. She is a bronze medalist in the 2013
IFSS World Championships in Alaska in the 4-dog sprint class and has been active
in promoting the dryland aspects of our sport. With a B.A.S. degree in
veterinary technology, she works as a research technician at the University of
Wisconsin in La Crosse. She is anxious to use her skills in the promotion and
development of the sport.
Janet Saxon (Golden, Colorado) was elected to fulfill the
position of treasurer for a four-year term. Saxon has been acting treasurer
since last summer, having been a board member for the past few years. She has
seen action as a member of Team USA at the Norway 2011 IFSS World Championships
and has been an active participant in bicycling sports, where she served as a
Kale Casey and Sally O’Sullivan Bair were elected to the
board as at-large members for four-year terms. Casey (Paonia, Colorado) brings a
bowlful of enthusiasm and ideas, having been a member of Team USA in the 2013
Alaska IFSS World championships. He was introduced to the sport by a neighbor
and experienced a comical rookie skijor year in 2010. Since then he has
fine-tuned his team and his Nordic skills and at the 2013 WCh in Alaska entered
all five skidog classes, the first American to do so. His ten-year goal includes
inspiring or recruiting determined athletes from the ranks of America’s vastly
talented high school and collegiate Nordic skiers. A 1994 graduate of Stanford,
Casey’s career as a wildfire incident medical specialist keeps him busy and in
harm’s way. He provides medical support to firefighters working on the front
lines as well as runs medical units for all sizes of fire camps. This summer he
has seen busy action in Alaska.
Sally O’Sullivan Bair (Monticello, Minnesota) previously
served on the board and, as an IFSS (International Federation of Sleddog Sports)
certified doping control officer, is currently the chair of the USFSS
anti-doping committee. She comes with a wealth of experience not only from a
30-year teaching career at the high school level in the social sciences,
literature and learning disabilities but also from her tenure as IFSS’s
secretary general from 1999-2012. She is a retired limited class sprint racer,
where she competed for 20+ years and garnered trophies at the local level. A
graduate of Colorado Woman’s College of Denver University, she did her graduate
work at Bemidji State University in Minnesota in special education. She is
currently the editor of the Tugline, the publication of the North Star
Sled Dog Club.
USFSS welcomes the new board members and anticipates with
excitement a productive upcoming year.
* USFSS has staggered terms for its board members.
June 17, 2013
The United States Federation of Sleddog Sports takes great
pleasure in announcing and extending to US racers an invitation to apply for the
2013 Dryland World Championships to be held in Falze di Piave, Italy November
This is an awesome opportunity to see the beautiful
countryside of Italy while you represent the United States at this prestigious
event. We do expect there to be travel assistance available to US competitors,
the amount has not been established.
There’s an attached program, class breakdown and USFSS
application. We encourage you to apply even if you’re uncertain you’ll be able
to make the trip. The deadline for applications is August 15, 2013. There will
be a 1st round selection of 3 US team members per class by September
There are always issues to contend with when traveling
abroad with dogs. USFSS will provide all the necessary technical assistance
you’ll need to understand your and your dogs travel requirements. We will also
find suitable housing for the US team while in Italy. We will work hard to make
your experience as a member of the US team as hassle free as possible, but there
will be logistical challenges, so be prepared to deal with the unusual if you
decide to apply.
You need to be a current member of USFSS. Our annual dues
cycle runs October 1, thru September 30. If you are not a current member, your
dues will need to be submitted with your application.
World dryland racing is extremely competitive. The
Federations within IFSS, all have excellent teams. It will be a challenge for
our country to get on the podium, but if our best US dryland teams apply, we
will be competitive. Thanks for considering this challenge.
SAVE THE DATE!
June 28-30,, 2013 in Harrisburg, PA, USFSS will be having their
spring meeting/congress in conjunction with ISDRA’s annual meeting. More details
USFSS’s Final Team
Roster for the 2013 IFSS World Championships
Skijor – Women
1 Dog Skijor – Men
1 Dog Pulka – Women
1 Dog Pulka – Men
Skijor – Women
2 Dog Skijor- Men
Nordic Combined – Women
Nordic Combined - Men
4 Dog Junior
4 Dog –
RNB No event
4 Dog Sled - Pursuit
Jay Olmstead Jr
4 Dog Sled - Mass Start
Jay Olmstead Jr
6 Dog Sled
8 Dog Sled
Jennifer Probert Erhart
Mid-distance Sled 8-12
dog - No event
Mid-distance Sled 6-dog - No event
Just announced the
Indian River Sprint Race in Indian River, Michigan has been added to the Wild
Card race circuit. The race is scheduled for January 26 and 27. For more
information go to
www.isdra.org. We’d like to thank the IRSR committee for providing this
awesome opportunity for WCh applicants to qualify out of the Midwest region.
Meet the 2013 US Team
January 11, 2013
WILD CARD RACE UPDATE
January 5, 2013
The postponement of the Langlade Co. Culver’s TB Challenge to
February 23-24 due to lack of snow, has provided an opportunity for the Willow
Springs Round Barn Sled Dog Rally in Wausau, WI to become the new Wisconsin wild
card race event.
The race is scheduled for January 26-27, but if you plan to race
for a spot on the US team, you will need to apply by January 7. Make
application through MU&SA at
or contact Mike Marsch at
USFSS WILD CARD RACE UPDATE
December 31, 2012
I want to
remind you there is only 1 week left for application into the Wild Card
qualifying round for the IFSS WCh’s. The deadline for entry is January 7, 2013.
membership and IFSS race application must be received by January 7, 2013. You
must pay your $25.00 MUSA membership dues, but the IFSS event entry fee is not
due at this time, but we do need to know what event you hope to qualify for.
circuit is throughout January and February 2&3. However, you must become a MUSA
member and submit an application for the event you hope to qualify for by
January 7, 2013.
let the race organization who is hosting the Wild Card races know who is
competing prior to the event. Also, if you have previously submitted an
application but were not selected, you are automatically entered into the Wild
Card races. All you need to do is go race.
to see you at an event near you.
The mission of
USFSS is to promote,
support, coordinate, and develop mushing activities in the United States, to
promote and encourage the welfare of sled dog and human athletes and to foster
appreciation for the traditions and history of the sport. As the national
governing body of sled dog sports in the United States, USFSS is further
committed to the ideals and guidelines of the United States Olympic Committee
USFSS is a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt organization.