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Seattle builder competes in Alaska’s Iditarod
Story and photo by Erin Lodi
What he misses about Buffalo “The smallness of it. It’s just part of the culture to be friendly and reach out to people”; What the dogs consumed on the trail 10,000 to 12,000 calories a day; What he ate “A crapload of candy bars and cofee”; Staying Warm White and the dogs dress for the cold, including booties for the dogs. In a race like the Iditarod with a team of 16, White had 900 sled dog socks to wash later!
Nearly two months after completing the 2010 Iditarod, Scott White, BA ’87 & BA ’87, finally started to regain a little feeling in his toes.
The 1,000-mile race through Alaskan wilderness is exceptionally difficult and dangerous (racers risk frostbite, frozen corneas and worse). It’s also terribly time-consuming (White trains 44 weekends each year) and extremely expensive ($20,000 to $25,000 per competitor). What’s more, White knows with certainty that he will never, ever win it.
But that’s exactly what drives him.
“It’s the hardest, most arduous thing in the world,” White says of the race he did not even finish in 2007 and placed second-to-last in this past March.
White, 46, lives with his wife Stacey Fischer and 29 Alaskan sled dogs near Lost Lake, a short commute from Seattle, where White is co-owner of the contracting firm Krekow Jennings.
“We do some really special projects,” White says of the firm he joined 14 years ago. Indeed, Krekow Jennings is known for its exceptional craftsmanship and unique architectural projects, as well as a special connection to the local artistic community. “It’s a great group of people that does the best work I’ve seen.”
White’s time at UB seems to have helped him flourish in his career; he also sees a connection between his degrees in design and philosophy and his sled dog racing.
“I consider myself a good problem solver. I think that’s probably both from studying philosophy and design. And dog sledding is almost incessant problems,” White observes.
White’s road to the Iditarod began with hiking trips during which he struggled to get closer to nature and further from society. Winter hiking trips sans summer’s abundance of trekkers brought him the seclusion he sought; dogs came into the picture when neck surgery to remove a herniated disc left him unable to carry much weight on his backpacking excursions. His first dogs—malamutes—were the perfect companions to accompany him and carry his packs. A trip to Alaska introduced him to the sport of mushing, as well as real Alaskan sled dogs like Sliver (left) and Stinger, pictured here, who led his Iditarod team. “It’s endless wilderness,” White says of the 49th state.
“There’s nothing like it—I just fell in love with it.”
White entered his first race, the Cascade Quest, about 10 years ago and won. After that, the races just got longer, the dog teams bigger.
Next season, White plans to race in the Seeley 200 in Montana and the Beargrease, the longest sled dog race in the lower 48, which is held in Minnesota.
Building them right side up since 1978
28th Running of the John Begrease Sled Dog Marathon
Scott White's website
Second try seems to be a charm for Washington musher