Joar & Co

RACES: Armundsen Race (Norway) Femundslopet (Norway) Finnmarkslopet (Norway) **Nadezhda Hope Race (Russia) **Chukotka Sprint Championship (Russia) *Kuskokwim (US) *Top of the World 350 (US) *Yukon Quest (US - Canada) *Knik (US) *Iditarod (US) * = Top-7 finish , ** = Champion

Joar Leifseth Ulsom

Senior Musher

Joar Leifseth Ulsom

February 21, 1987 -- Mo i Rana (NORWAY)

2013 Iditarod Rookie of the Year, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, is the fastest rookie to have ever run the Iditarod.  In the legendary 2014 Iditarod, he placed 4th with the 5th fastest time in history, and a new Norwegian record in the race. Landing the second top-10 finish in only two starts is a feat just four other mushers in Iditarod history have done before. Joar is born and raised Norway, 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle. He and all but one of his dogs came to Alaska from Norway in 2011 to be part of Team Racing Beringia. Joar went live with the program in 2012 from the Yukon Quest where he placed sixth, and then went to Russia for what is considered the toughest race in Eurasia: The Nasdezhda Hope Race. Joan became the first non-native champion of that race in 20 years, with the fastest time ever. He and his team also claimed victory in the 2012 Chukotka Sprint Championship; as well as another Nadezhda Hope Championship in 2014.  Joar now works full-time with his very small kennel of dogs. Back in Norway, he worked as a cowboy while he ran the great races of Scandinavia: Finnmarksløpet, Femundlópet and the Amundsen Race.

“My first experience of Beringia was when I was invited to Chukotka in Russia to run 2011 Nadezhda Hope. This was part of delivering an online education program at PolarHusky.com. Entering the world of online education with adventure learning, then led me to be part of Team Racing Beringia. I came here to Alaska in November of 2011 with my dogs from Norway.  When I was just a kid I decided that I wanted to run dogs. At 13 I was offered to buy a dog team, sled and all for $1000, but my parents didn’t agree to it. Once I set my mind on something I am a bit stubborn, so at 19 when I got my own, I bought some large sled dogs to go camping with in the mountains. Nothing else is like running in the mountains with my dogs. One day as I was sitting up there in my Lavu (a tent of the Native Sami people of Scandinavia) a man stopped outside with his team of racing dogs – he was not feeling good and I offered to help him out. That was the beginning of a great friendship, and that winter I ran his team in Finnmarkslopet. From that point on, my life has gone completely to the dogs. Today I have some 35 dogs with my partner Petter Arnesen back in Norway — and yes, my family is some of my greatest supporters.” — Joar

The

Superstars

6 years, female, 39 lbs – Lindy (King) x Helena (Swingley)

Sivo

Lead

Bio

 Sivo is the heart of my team. She is small, and does not set the highest pace, but she has that heart. And, she has the strongest race head of any dog I have ever met. Sivo wants to win. She simply thrives in single-lead in races: when I move her up there alone, she knows ‘this is it’, she is all business, and she delivers. I know she will do anything for me and I will do pretty much anything for Sivo. I really treasure this dog. Her Dad, Lindy, won the Iditarod with King in 2006 before he came to Norway where my then employer, Keital Reitan, bred him with Helena from Swingley. Reitan did not care for the three smallest pups in that litter and was happy to let me buy them. I am a firm believer physical size does not make the race dog; to me it is about mental endurance, heart, race head and athleticism. Sivo has all that. I am honestly honored to run her.

6 years, male, 75 lbs – Vala (Johansen) x Kandy (Swift)

Jesus

Wheel, team

Bio

 The power of my operation! He is the strongest dog in my team, the alpha male and my main stud. Jesus is pretty much the ultimate long-distance sled dog in my mind. He is built muscle yet flexible and has never injured. Coming into a check point he is happy, ready to eat, lays down to rest and then at the slightest motion from me that we are about ready to leave: he gets on his paws. I have seen him stand and close his eyes as he waits for me to get it going as motioned, but he does not lay down again—no matter how long I take. He pulls the load every mile of every race. His strength and determination drives the team forward from behind. This tough, reliable, easy-to-work-with and honest super-dog comes out of Old Norwegian bloodlines.

6 years, female, 55 lbs – Lindy (King) x Soka (Jacobsen)

Britt

Lead

Bio

All brains, Britt is an incredible lead dog. It is like driving a car with auto-steering that turns almost just by my mere thought… and that with one of those polished GPS voices that keeps insisting on the route programmed, when I choose an alternate route!  Built like a thorough breed racehorse, Britt is the hardest driver I have and she sets a tremendous pace with the team if I led her. She is an exceptionally hard worker too—I need to really watch her intake to make sure she has as much in the tank as she wants to put out, cause she will put everything out. Soka, her Mom who led my team in the Femunds race in Norway, was out of the Petter Karlson sprint kennel, so that’s where the short coat and hound comes from.

6 years, male, 56 lbs – Lindy (King) x Lady (Reitan)

Hunter

Team, Swing

Bio

 Hunter is my ultimate spirited cheerleader on the team. Always and endlessly a hunter, Hunter hunts down any trail you put him on. He barks with excitement out of every checkpoint and up every hill or mountainside, literally. I don’t think this dog has ever met an incline he did not love. It makes me smile when we approach what one might consider running through difficult terrain, and I swear I can see him smile too—and that spreads on into my team even when he is not barking.  He is a motivating force that propels my team forward. He is incredibly honest. I never doubt him.

5 years, female, 54 lbs, 5 years – Unknown (Johannessen) x Grå (Johannssen)

Leug

Lead, Swing

Bio

My partner Petter picked out Leug from the top Norwegian kennel of top-musher Ralph Johanssen. She is  the mother of many greats, and most of my pups and upcoming dogs. Leug is extremely laid-back and exceptionally intense all at once. When hooked onto the line and its time to go this dog turns on, is charged up and focused like few I have ever seen—and she runs that way every mile down the trail, giving herself 110%. Once we stop, the switch turns off and she completely zones out. When not running or sleeping, she eats like a machine, anything and everything. Leug led most of the way in our 2012 Iditarod race. She is totally uncomplicated, just straightforward a tremendously elegant athlete with a winners head. Leg is now back in Norway with Petter running the races there.

6 years, male, 62 lbs – Kasper (Swift) x Guro (Swift)

Benny

Team

Bio

Benny is a tireless bunny: endlessly hop-hop-hop on his front paws bouncing when the team is stopped, this dog is simply raw, unbridled happy energy roaring to go-go-go and go some more. He pulled a muscle in the 2013 season on our last short run before that Iditarod start, taking him out of the team. I was devastated. I admit this dog is not only the Energizer Bunny for the other dogs in the team, but for me too. But back in 2014 he was an instrumental force continuously powering us down the Iditarod trail. He was also with me when we finished our first 1000-mile race in the 2012 Yukon Quest. Benny is out of old great Norwegian bloodlines.

6 years, male, 60 lbs – Kasper (Swift) x Ratata (Jahnsen)

Atom

Team, Swing

Bio

 Short of the perfect sled dog to look at—Atom is not only tremendously great built, he has a beautiful effortless gate that can really ramp up speed and is a super happy personality, not to be brought down. Atom can run anywhere in the team, and is a cheerleader no matter his position or how hard it gets, something I really value. Atom masters the art of always having something left in the tank. He came across the finish line in the 2012 Yukon Quest, our first 1000-mile race, but injured in 2013 Kuskokwim 300. He then sat out that Iditarod, and unfortunately the injury is still at play today. We keep trying; it will be a huge strength to add to my Iditarod team to have him with us on the trail.

4 years, male, 57 lbs -- Reidar (Engholm) x Lady (Johannesen)

Mjuk

Team

Bio

The dog I would clone if I could. Mjuk’s Dad is Reidar: the stud of Sven Engholm the 11-time Champion of Finnmarksløpet, Europe’s longest sled dog race. His mom, Lady, is daughter of Ralph Johannessen’s mighty Øre and granddaughter of legendary Takk who led Robert Sørlie all the way to Nome for his Iditarod victory in 2003. Mjuk have been part of my Iditarod team in both 2013 and 2014, finishing his first 1000-mile run in our first Iditarod, easily, never stressed at any point along the way. “Mjuk” means soft in Norwegian—very fitting for this mild, extremely laid-back and ever so gentle soft-spoken personality with a fantastic longer soft coat and a very soft-flowing gate. He is exceptionally flexible and takes less training to be at his peak than the rest of my team.

5 years, female, 61 lbs, 5 years – Henry (Reitan) x Rosta (Reitan)

Embla

Team, Wheel

Bio

 Embla is a big sweet uncomplicated, low-maintenance woman who gets the job done. She has an easy gate, but Embla does prefer to run just below top-speed, actually I would say she always keeps her entire output just below top-capacity: Embla is the kind of dog that will maintain herself perfectly and no need for me to worry about her pushing to hard. Rosta, her mom, is out of a Greenland dog so likely it is from there she gets the self-preservation-gene—along with her running with a curled tail. Her Dad, Henry, is son of Takk, Sørlie’s legendary lead dog that took him to victory in 2003. Ebla was part of my Iditarod team and the top-10 finishes in both 2013 and 2014.

6 years, male, 58 lbs – Lindy (King) x Helena (Swingley)

Kosak

Lead, Team

Bio

 Sivo’s littermate, this dog drives. Kosak is a remarkable athlete. He is a small male but his body is a mesh of fine-tuned muscle. Kosak is honest and passionate, a very enthusiastic dog who is ever loyal to me. I love the way this dog eats. He loves women—two and four legs alike. He is a good leader. In races I like to focus his relentless vigor and energy in the middle of the team where he just keeps giving and giving. Kosak was on my finishing team for the 2012 Yukon Quest, 2013 Iditarod, and 2014 Iditarod.

3 years, male, 62 lbs – Dingo (Brennodden) x Tundra (Brennodden)

Kjell

Team

Bio

 Kjell has what it takes and excels beyond every expectation I have of him. Strong sturdy and durable is what I was looking for when I asked Kjell Brennodden for a good puppy out of his kennel; and that is exactly what I got in Kjell (the dog). Kjell (the man) has dogs out of famed hardy old Norwegian bloodlines and one of the top long-distance kennels in Scandinavia. He runs a school for troubled youth where they get opportunity to work with his Alaskan Huskies and run their own teams in the big races. They have great success getting youth back on the straight trail this way. Kjell was on my team crossing the 2014 Iditarod finish line and I can’t wait for another run at the Iditarod trail with my Kjell.

3 years, female, 45 lbs – Panther (Berkowitz) x Feta (Berkowitz)

Bama

Team

Bio

 Bama is the only dog in my team that I did not bring over from Norway or breed myself. I bought her as a 2-year old from the Apex kennel. I was really excited to get some of the proven bloodlines from my good friend Jake Berkowitz to mix in with what I have. Bama had already started in the Iditarod in 2012 for Jake. She is a small female, I think smaller than what Jake prefers. Bama fit in great with my team though and finished the 2012 Nadezhda and then 2013 Iditarod with me, solid. She is a tough little no-fuss kind of woman: good attitude, great coat, smooth gate, fantastic eater.

6 years, male, 59 lbs – Moldy (Swingley) x Pali (Reitan)

Levin

Swing, Team

Bio

 Levin has his dad’s short coat and long legs that make him fly. Swingley said his dad, Moldy, was the best yearling ever to run on his team—then Moldy broke his foot and was sold to Norway where he was a big stud. Reitan bred him with Pali, who was my leader in the Femund Race in Norway. She was tiny but extremely fast, and I just loved that dog. I would have paid all I had to own her, but I considered myself very lucky to get Levin. He is such an athlete that can run anywhere in the team from lead to wheel. Intense and good-natured all at once, Levin is not an overly confident personality but I always know he will give me what he got. He is my “howler” — loves to howl and gets everyone going, making us come together as a team-ready-to-roar.

3 years, male, 61 lbs – Fenrik (Ulsom) x Sivo (Ulsom)

Joar

Swing, Lead

Bio

 Son of Sivo and Hunter’s brother, this dog works so insanely hard. He is a leader by heart and will simply go till the end and beyond for me. Joar has spirit, backbone, courage…guts, balls, heart. When I came over in the fall of 2011 I left this guy as a yearling to train with my partner, Petter, in Norway (how his name changed to be Joar without me being able to do squad about it). I had high expectations when we brought him over two summers ago, and he has even far exceeded them. He was bold force on the team all the way to Nome in 2014, leading almost the entire way.

4 years, female, 60 lbs – Unknown x Unknown (Kafher)

Leah

Team

Bio

 Leah came to me in a basket… No, but she might as well have: a friend of mine needed to find homes for his dogs; Leah is whom he knew the least about and while she has a very short coat and some big ears indeed, I liked her. Those ears make her look like she can fly with them alone… and this dog can truly fly. Leah is flat-out the fastest dog in my kennel. She is the last to have to roll over into a lope when I call out for high-speed, and once she does lope, well, it looks like she is soaring above ground through the air. She is the steady worker you never think much about. She is a bit nervous by nature and looks to me for reassurance—but she eats great, she is happy; she is doing her job, easily.

3 years, male, 59 lbs – Fenrik (Ulsom) x Sivo (Ulsom)

Aleks

Team

Bio

 The good guy in the kennel, the one everyone likes to play with. Sweet and timid, Aleks is a late bloomer. I have always had high expectations because he is Sivo’s son but there is not a trace of dominance in him and he is all-around a very different personality. It has been important to recognize his strengths on his own merits and let him grow into this at his pace. A very graceful athlete he always put out, but we had to keep working on building his confidence for years basically. I just had feeling there was a lot more to come from him–and now we got it: this year Aleks has been leading us down the trail with great force and determination. I am so excited to finally have him with me at the Iditarod start this year!

6 years, female, 52 lbs – Øre (Johannessen) x Candy (Swift)

Emmolu

Lead, Swing

Bio

 Taking on from her dad, the phenomenal Norwegian Øre, Emmilou is a great leader that likes to drive the team at a high pace. She is a real force leading in hilly terrain where she truly kicks in, working very hard, barking her way up the hills in excitement. She is very low-maintenance and is a super athletic dog. Emmilou took on much of the early leading on our way to Nome in 2014 and I can count on her enthusiasm in my 2015 Iditarod team.

4 years, male, 63 lbs – Tuttu (Reitan) x Tundra (Kristiansen)

Willy

Team

Bio

 If I could find a way to keep fish on a stick right in front of Willy’s snout, Willy alone might keep us moving at all times. It took me a while to stop trying to get him to keep weight on his dangly frame in any other way, than to just give into the fish in all possible formats. Coming into his fourth season, Willy has naturally filled out and is bulking up really nicely. If he can keep on his weight I think Willy has what it takes all the way. He is an honest worker that runs with a great gate anywhere in the team. This season he has really excelled in lead, taking on responsibility and showing me that he is street-smart.  

3 years, male, 60 lbs – Bruin (Sørling) x Emmilou (Arnesen)

Sokk

Wheel

Bio

 Non-stop power. Limited edition Xtreme-hill-climber. This dog is really something else. He floats across the trail effortlessly stretching out at top-speed, but once we get to an incline, he goes low, head towards the ground, chest down and digs deep. He has that extra setting: 4-wheel drive, low. He is no doubt a natural: affectionate by nature, feisty in harness, and incredible mental stamina, but I also have to credit my partner Petter for just bringing out the best in this kind of a dog with his mix of loving environment and hard-core training. A son of our Emmilou and Bruin, Robert Sørlie’s main stud, Petter brought him up back in Norway and 2013/14 was my first season with him. He ran with me from start to finish in the 2014 Iditarod. He just continued to impress me in that race, as well as when we next took our second Championship in the 2014 Nadezhda Hope race in Russia.

3 years, male, 78 lbs – Øre (Johannessen) x Leug (Arnesen)

Tatar

Lead, Swing

Bio

Leug’s big son pulverizes the trail in lead. He turns it on, and we turn into a freight train. This dog is entirely committed. When you see him attacking the trail, it is hard to believe it is the same dog you see in the yard.  Tater has his mom’s very sweet and affectionate nature, but he is a very shy guy who really prefers the view peeking out from inside his doghouse… put the harness on him, and he owns the world. His Dad is Øre that led Ralph Johannesen to Finnmark Race Championship. Last year was my first season with Tater who has been with my partner Petter in Norway since he was born. Petter told me Tater is something else, the kind of dog he wants to see tear up the Iditarod trail. So we brought him over here that summer—and, I agree. This dog is something else. He finished the 2014 Iditarod, his first 1000-mile race, in greatest possible form. He was even more spectacular in Russia as we won the 2014 Nadezhda Hope race. I am thankful to be on the team with this guy!

Next

The Puppies

August 2014 – Tarzan (Ulsom) x Leug (Arnesen)

Russeren

Puppy

August 2014 – Tarzan (Ulsom) x Leug (Arnesen)

Musen

Puppy

August 2014 – Tarzan (Ulsom) x Leug (Arnesen)

Tyttebœr

Puppy

October 2014 – Hunter (Ulsom) x Ambler (Ulsom)

Dodge

Puppy

October 2014 – Hunter (Ulsom) x Ambler (Ulsom)

Viper

Puppy

March 2014 – Kjell (Brennodden) x Embla (Ulsom)

Røros

Puppy

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