LISTEN: Stuck in Alaska, Iditarod champ hopes old plane bound for Norway museum can get him and dogs home

Thomas Waerner won the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  (Kjersti McElwee/KNOM)

2020 Iditarod champion Thomas Waerner and his team of sled dogs have been stuck in Alaska since crossing the finish line of the thousand-mile dog mushing race in Nome a month ago.

In the meantime, Waerner has been living with friends near Fairbanks in Ester, all because of cornavirus-related, international travel restrictions, coupled with the normal difficulties and rules around flying dogs internationally.

Related: ‘An actual dream’: Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner notches his first Iditarod victory

But now a plan is coming together: to catch a ride on an old cargo plane in Fairbanks, on its way to a museum in Norway.

This, of course, is all a wild divergence from what the first-time Iditarod champ expected. And it all started with rumors on the trail during the race, and then Waerner’s wife having to make a sudden exit to fly home right before an international travel ban went into effect.

Waerner talked about all of that with Alaska Public Media’s Casey Grove.


Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts.

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