Thursday, December 07, 2006


Training is going well dispite the no snow on the ground... We start to see DIRT again on some part of the trail.
Dogs are doing good Jacques main race dogs have almost 1200 miles (1900 km) on them  the yearling have about 900 miles (km) on them.

We are anxious to go on sled and see how they do. We are pulling out dog from training right now so we know which 36 will go in the truck in couple of weeks. None of them are injured some just tired.

Around Dec Th we will drive to Montana and go on sled there.

the potential dogs for the Grande Odyssée are posted in this link 2007 LGO Dogs  only 14 will go so the list will be final around January 1st I think.

Posted by Magali in Training News
Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:04:00 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Here's how Memphis spend her evening after been a great leader during the day.
Memphis and Mao Mao making sure everybody is there!

Memphis  Chewing on a fake bone so I don't get in trouble!!!

Posted by Magali in Other news
Wednesday, December 06, 2006 10:35:19 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Sunday, December 03, 2006


Well last night Sylvain and Aurelie took back the plane to go back to France. We will miss them.
They will be with Jacques helping during the LGO 2007.

They took with them Ruby and her brother Quartz that now have a new home with Regine Polo in France. She has a small kennel and will probably enjoy them a lot and have two nice leaders.

Ruby and Quartz

It is very warm this morning 10 above !!!! but no snow the sly is filled with beautiful STARS..

Posted by Magali in Other news
Sunday, December 03, 2006 7:59:21 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Saturday, December 02, 2006


Well look like we are going to sit on our 4 wheeler a little longer. Couple days ago we got about 1 inch of snow. This is nice of course but we would like 6 or more so we could pack the trail fill up the Tusseks holes and RUN ON SLED….

Jacques still has 2 teams of 16 dogs on training. I reduce my yearling team to 14 dogs. I dropped out Fuji (don’t plan on using her for the races)  and Philae (light injury right shoulder). Memphis is back in lead and this feels so so good.

Jacques is going 45 miles and I am doing 35 miles.

The Races are coming up…. But I had to remove our entry from the Sheep Mountain 150 dog race coming up Dec 16th. We have no snow and there is no way (in Mushing common sense) we are racing without had done couple weeks of Sled training first. So sadly I cancel the entry to the race.

Since we have no handler my dad is coming Dec 16th to take care of the kennel, cat, Hen, Keops, Carlit and the house while we will be gone… What will I do without my dad????

We plan in driving to Montana end of December, train there for couple of days then I will stay at our friend Doug Swingley and Melanie Shirilla with 22 dogs training for Wyoming, while Jacques and 14 dogs drive to Chicago to take the plane to go to France and race the Grande Odyssée.
Doug and Mel are so nice to us I will be staying there at their place for 3 weeks and train on the beautiful trails there, dogs will get use to altitude and will be away from the usual 40 below weather of Fairbanks in January. They already have over 2ft of snow in Montana and it snow every other day a little 4 to 8 inches.

Jacques will race in France the 600 miles race in the Alps, since he (we) don’t think the organization will have make any improvement on the trails Jacques will race with a HELMET…. Considering what happen to me last winter better be safe than sorry…. Right now there is NO snow in Europe so let’s hope it come…

When Jacques come back from France on Jan 19th he will drive from Chicago to Lincoln will come pick me up and then we will both race in Wyoming Jan 26th and then Feb 3rd when the race finishes we Rush back home to do the Iditarod food drop due Feb. 12Th. Let’s hope our big dog truck will not play any trick on us this winter.

So this is so far the plans we have… let’s hope for more snow… (so I should not read the weather forecast!!)

Posted by Magali in Training News
Saturday, December 02, 2006 8:05:04 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Friday, December 01, 2006


A robot archaeologist is to be sent deep inside Egypt's largest pyramid in a bid to solve secrets revealed by a first foray more than four years ago, antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass said.

"The new robot will be sent down very narrow passages in the so-called Queen's Chamber, where the first robot was sent in 2002," said Hawass, who heads Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Teams from Egypt and Singapore and a joint group from Britain and Hong Kong plan to insert the robot in February inside the Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, near to Cairo.

Equipped with tiny cameras, the robot will be sent down the chamber's north and south passages in the hope of discovering what lies behind two inner walls — or doors — revealed during the first robotic expedition in September 2002...


Posted by Magali in Other news
Friday, December 01, 2006 8:22:50 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Monday, November 27, 2006

Training updates

I figured I should do some updates on our training.

All is going well despite the lack of snow. The temperature warmed up couple days ago and today it was 5 above( -15°c) , it was like summer but a strong wind remind us that winter is here to stay.
Jacques started few days ago  to take is 2 adult race teams 45 miles with a camping break of an hour at the half way point.

I am keeping my yearling on 35 miles two days in a row with for each run a camping stop break of an Hour min at the half way point.

We like our camping break at the half way point it make is easier on the dogs to increase distances and mostly it teach them to camp get fed and then keep on going.
Needless to say that the Yearlings that never race just start to understand that lying down or just “stop screaming to go” is an option….

Regarding the yearling team EDFU is still the Best for now follow very close by MULDER and SCULLY. Memphis is back on full training and today she was in lead with her daughter Janet. What a PLEASURE to have her in lead always ready and watching me at the camp… She was in swing yesterday and she DISTROYED, I mean destroyed the line and now I have bare stainless steel cable showing… I change line tomorrow…. This meant! I need to be in lead not in swing or I’ll chew everything!
When I get to the camp I turn her loose, she goes to her usual sleeping stop and lay down wait for her snack and then She know I will come sit next to her and she just sleep on my legs.

So for now we are still training 3 teams of 16 dogs… and we have no DAY OFF, the dogs runs two days in a row on day off but US no DAY OFF. The swamps are very rough and the 45 miles is may be like “bull riding” it kills your back, neck and arms… Tusseks are 2ft high and NO snow to help fill up those holes. We are both pretty tired but the training is going well so we are pleased with the dogs.

To make it more fun last night we had a power outage from Midnight to about 10H45am, the power went off and right back on at Midnight so I got up and went outside reset the heater in the Laying Hen House… At 3 am Jacques woke me up and told me the “power is off” I got up and realize it had been off for a while so I told him we have to bring the “Hens” inside so we both when and brought back inside the garage my 6 hens I was worried then would freeze otherwise. It was so easy to catch them then they are “sleeping” compare to summer time!!!! So this was our little EXITEMENT!! and off course 6:30am we got up to do our regular daily routine.

Here’s some photos of few days ago training, I’ll try to take more soon.

Aswan and Cairo ASWAN and CAIRO (Brothers)


Posted by Magali in Training News
Monday, November 27, 2006 9:29:41 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Monday, November 20, 2006

Necklines or no necklines
Quite a few years ago in the 80's, when I started running dogs in Alaska, it was quite common for people to run their leader without a neckline.
A the time though as far as I know, everyone was using necklines on the team dogs.
The necklines where about a foot long (30cm) with a small snap at the end to tie it to the dog's collar.
In Alaska's interior, it was known that a lot of people did not use a snap on the neckline because it increased the occurrence of frostbites on the dog's tongues that would stick to the snaps at temperatures of -20°F -40°F.

Short necklines in sprint races

They used necklines with a loop at the end and they would just pass it around the dog's neck.
There are other problems that happen with necklines; among those we can name: Dogs chewing the necklines, dogs getting their legs tangled in the neckline, dogs not being able to get away from an obstacle (hole, tee..) and getting injured, dog being drug by the neckline and getting a neck injury...
More recently, we have seen people try several other techniques: Cable necklines, iron rope (spectra) necklines that the dogs have a hard time chewing through, elastic necklines to absorb the shock on the dog's neck, longer necklines so that the dog has more freedom to avoid obstacles and finally no neckline at all.
We have tried all these alternatives and they all have advantages and disadvantages.
The iron rope is nice, but it is expensive, hard to work with and mostly soaks water a lot and ices up very easily when it is cold (We tried soaking it in a non toxic water repellent but it was not very good). We still use those in the fall when it is not too cold.
We really like the longer necklines vs the shorter ones (about 2 feet or 60 cm). One thing you need to do with those though is angle them back a little more so that the dogs don't get their legs tangled in them. The dogs have a lot more freedom to avoid holes or ruts in the trail and when you stop, it is harder for longer necklines to get twisted to the point where the dogs have no more line to move.

No neckline, a lot  freedom for the dogs

The last two years, after seeing some successful Iditarod mushers like Jeff King or Jessy Royer run without necklines, I started training my dogs this way.
For a while, I have to admit that it makes things more difficult because the dogs have a lot more freedom and they have not been trained to behave before, they tend to do a lot of stupid things like turning around, pissing on trees...
The one thing I like is that it forces you to train your dogs better. They are responsible of their own behavior and dogs don't like that at first. For example, if they have to poop and they have a neckline, they don't have to think about it, they can just let themselves being drug by the neck, but if they have no neckline, they quickly understand that they get run over by the other dogs or the sled if they don't pay attention.

The consequence of that is that it is a much smaller gap for a dog to go from back in the team to lead.
Once they behave good in the team, it won't be so hard for them to behave in lead. They may goof around after a while in lead, but at least, they should not misbehave right away.
One of the problems with this is if you have regular harnesses, the dog can get out of it in case of a tangle and get loose. We can catch our dogs normally easily, but in a stress situation, sometimes it can be hard. Jeff uses a special kind of harness that the dogs cannot get out of, but they have other disadvantages for a lot of people.

2 feet necklines

I have not been brave enough to try it in races, so I still run 2 feet neck lines. On trick I found last year is that I also use 2 feet tuglines so that they are interchangeable with the necklines, but I add a piece on the tail of the harnesses to make the tugline longer, but this way, the snap is far away back from the dog and it is almost impossible for the dog to poop on the snap. This is a big advantage when you get to a checkpoint when it is cold and your snaps are not frozen in dog poop.
Posted by Jacques in Mushing 101
Monday, November 20, 2006 8:09:09 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   

New Category
Mushing 101 is a new category whee we will include some random topics about mushing.
It is not only aimed to beginners as the 101 may imply. Posted by Jacques in Mushing 101
Monday, November 20, 2006 8:06:22 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   


I keep on hearing about the global warming! but it is not valid for Alaska !
For now 2 weeks we have temperature ranging from 20 below (-30°c) and the warm is 10 below (-23°c), where is the global warming?

Our training is going well and we are where we want to be at this time of the year. The Adults dogs are going 45 miles (km) soon. The Yearling are doing 20 and 35 miles depending on the temperature and things to do around here.
The Adult dogs have about 750 miles total of training (1200 km) and the Yearlings about 600 miles (960 km). We are please with the way the handle the training we planned for this year.

I still hope to run (Yes I will probably run it) the Sheep Mountain 150 middle of December but I am still on Waiting list. I will take the 2 years old that didn't race last winter to see what they can do and of course a pair or good leader!....

My dad is arriving that same week end to stay here and watch the place and take care of the dogs while we are racing outside.

Here's some photos of the COLD !!!

Photo by Sylvain Cordeau Jacques after 35 miles at 15 below!

Scooby Scooby after 35 miles also !

Posted by Magali in Training News
Monday, November 20, 2006 4:36:57 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Sunday, November 19, 2006

4 more mushers to Wyoming list

4 new names added to the sign up list for Wyoming... New names but FRIENDS for 3 of them !
Look foward to see all of them in beautiful Wyoming

14. Joe Loveless

15. Sam Perrino

16. Jarle Halsnes

17. Wesley Rau

Posted by Magali in Wyoming news
Sunday, November 19, 2006 6:59:01 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Saturday, November 18, 2006

Still cold and not more snow

We are dealing with cool temperature and not more snow since the end of October.
We took our friends Sylvain and Aurelie today training with us on our 35 miles loop, I think they enjoy the Alaska Wilderness even so they got a little cold toward the end of the run.

Here's Aurelie Leaving with Jacques

Sylvain at is return from the run!

Loly and Jewel at the turn around !!

Posted by Magali in Training News
Saturday, November 18, 2006 5:03:01 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Friday, November 17, 2006

Field of musher getting bigger for Wyoming

Mushers Signed up for the 2007 IPSSSDR:

1. Dan Carter

2. Stacey S. Teasley

3. Magali Phillip

4. Bruce Magnusson

5. Kirk Barnum

6. Douglas Wurzelbacher

7. Warren Palfrey

8. JR Anderson

9. Kate St. Onge

10. Jacques Philip

11. Mary Gilbertson

12. Wendy Davis

13. Grant Beck

Posted by Magali in Wyoming news
Friday, November 17, 2006 8:05:21 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Our friends Aurélie and Sylvain arrived this morning at 1am !
here's a photo of them on our deck this morning

They are enjoying the TEMPERATURES changes !! it is 15 below here and they arrived from France where it was 50 above

Posted by Magali in Other news
Wednesday, November 15, 2006 10:19:41 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New Web Site

Here's a link to the new web site for the UMES at the French National Vet School in Alfort near Paris

which means in English UNIT OF SPORT MEDICINE, BREEDING with Dr. Dominique Grandjean D.V.M. at is lead.

I know the site is in French so LEARN FRENCH !!!

For those of you who refuse to learn a second language ! you can look at the photos !!!

Posted by Magali in Other news
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 4:46:47 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   


Cold Temperatures are now in place. 

For now 2 days it is about 20 below in the morning (-30°c) and it warms up to Zero during the day (-20°c). so to train we have to put booties on all the dogs to prevent snow/ice balls on their feet (we use Kipmik booties) and we have to have the female wearing specially design coat to protect their belly. 


Those Belly Blanket are made by Kathadin Mushing Supplies and we had been using them for many year (also helped with the design) and are very happy with them.

Oracle doesn’t have a very nice coat so when it is cold I use a dog blanket on him made by Manmat this is the same company that make most of the harness we use.

The main adult race dogs have about 600 miles of training on them and my yearlings about 500 miles. They are all running 35 miles now. Yesterday it was too cold to go stop camping so I did the 35 miles run “non stop” with the yearlings and 16 dogs pulling our big 4 wheeler I the swamps and hills around here made it around in 4hrs. I was very pleased as none of the young one showed any signs of tiredness at the end.

Yankee and Chrome

Tonight our friend Sylvain and Aurelie are arriving from France and are spending 3 weeks with us. I think their will have a little temperature change when they get off the plane at Midnight and it will be about 25 below in town….

Posted by Magali in Training News
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 2:36:41 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #