The Iditarod is one of the most prestigious races in Alaska. Every year, dogs and their owners show up to the barren land in order to race and perform. The conditions are tough. With negative temperatures and heavy snow. Miles away from society, these racers push their teams to the brink.
Well for one Norwegian, the Iditarod came and went. With a new trophy and an new champion, Thomas Waerner was ready to take his new winnings home to his wife in Norway. Unfortunately, this was happening just as COVID-19 was striking the nation. With flights grounded, Waerner has been stuck in Alaska for months.
The Iditarod May Be Over, But Thomas Waerner Is Still Trying To Get Home
When COVID-19 hit the country, most places went into lock down. This includes the state of Alaska. The state (which boarders Canada) is the largest in the country. Not by population, but by area. The desolate North is home to few.
Since the lockdown has started, Wearner has been attempting to make it home. WIth grounded airlines (especially up north), this has proven an arduous task.
“I like Alaska a lot,” Waerner said. “It’s kind of my dream place. But I have a family.”
The Dog sled champion lives in Norway with his wife, children and 35 sled dogs.
“My wife has been taking care of 35 dogs, the kids, and working as a veterinarian,” he said. Once he returns home, “ ‘yes, dear,’ will be the answer for everything,” he said.
The champion has his sights set on finding unorthodox ways to get home. Recently, a cargo plane has been purchased out of Everts Airforce Base of Fairbanks. A classic DC-6 will be flying out to Norway to the Air History Museum in Sola, Norway.
As a hitch hiker, Waerner will receive an extensive COVID-19 test prior to departure.