The Rush of Mush

In Fairbanks, Alaska, the winter temperature hovers around 1 degree Fahrenheit, and temperatures can dip to 50 degrees below on particularly chilly days. The frigid cold, however, doesn't deter Andrew Wappett (BA '98) and his cheerful crew of dog mushing enthusiasts. Wappett has 17 dogs, four children, and a passion for mushing. When the former mushing club dissolved, Wappett helped reform a new nonprofit, the Junior Dog Mushers of Interior Alaska, and together with other mushing enthusiasts, Wappett organized a series of eight races a year.

The goal is to build character in the kids, who learn to love and care for dogs, even at 30 below. “The kids and dogs must listen to and trust each other, because the dogs can sense danger in the darkness or a moose on the trail,” says Wappett, who prepares older racers to participate in the Junior Iditarod and other 150-mile events. The kids are “on their own, feeding and taking care of 10 powerful dogs who could drag them away and are their only lifeline to get back,” says Wappett. “Doing things like that is a huge confidence-builder.”


Read more of this Alaskan alumni's story at 


Full Name: 
Andrew Wappett
Grad Year: 
BA 1998
Fine Arts and Communications
Madeline Buhman and Andrew Bay
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