WTIP Outdoor News Podcast

Recap Of 2023 John Beargrease Sled Dog Race

Though the last musher crossed the finish less than 24 hours earlier in the 2023 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, race officials were already talking about next year.

“We’re already in planning mode for 2024,” said Vice President Brittany North.

The reason the Beargrease team is already looking ahead to next year, in addition to a general enthusiasm for mushing, is because next year will be the 40th anniversary of the race. North said the race will be largely the same, but there will be a “festival” vibe included in the 2024 race.

Meanwhile, this week, Keith Aili’s team of sled dogs were the first to cross the finish line outside the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino near Lake Superior.

The 39th annual event started Sunday morning near Duluth. Temperatures were consistently below-zero for most of the race, including -21 Fahrenheit temps Monday morning at the Trailcenter checkpoint on Poplar Lake along the Gunflint Trail.

Earlier in the week, Grand Marais musher Joanna Oberg won the mid-distance Beargrease 120.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with North about the 2023 race one day after it ended. Also featured in this episode, WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins shares her experience volunteering during the 2023 Beargrease. As she was in 2022, Hawkins was stationed at the Trailcenter checkpoint near the Gunflint Trail during this year’s race.