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Heidi Ruh

Heidi was born in Switzerland and bought her first Siberian Husky in 1974. She started competing in sprint racing in Europe, competing in 1976-1985 in Switzerland, Italy, France, Austria, and Germany.


She started out in the limited class with a five-dog team, working into the eight-dog class, and then competed in the open class, which has no limit to the number of dogs used.


Heidi Ruh mushed with racing partner Peter Thomann under the kennel name Koko Tengri. They became the largest breeder of Siberian Huskies during this time in Europe. They trained their Huskies for racing and they supplied other mushers with dogs for their teams.


After dominating Europe they set a goal of racing in North America. In 1980 Team Koko Tengri arrived in Alaska, where Heidi fell in love with Alaska and decided she wanted to live there someday.


Back in Europe Heidi continued to dominate the sprint-racing scene but decided she wanted to come back to North America and compete at middle distance and distance racing. To ready her teams for North America, in 1983 she started to tour glaciers in Europe to test her teams

and herself against harsher and more strenuous conditions. She found both she and the dogs were in better shape than realized, so she readied herself to relocate to North America.


In March of 1984 Heidi came back to Fairbanks, Alaska and competed in sprint mushing in the North American Championship and the Tok Race Of Champions. That summer she started seeking property in North America, eventually purchasing property in the Yukon, Canada by the community of Tagish. In the spring of 1985 Heidi began relocating to Tagish, to begin her North American racing dream in earnest. In October of 1985 Heidiís dogs were all flown from Switzerland and readied for their future in the North.


It was quite a change for Heidi coming from all the comforts offered in the city of Zuerich, Switzerland to living in a small log cabin where she had no running water, electricity or phone, and heating and cooking was done on a wood stove. Heidi immediately fell in love with the primitive, remote lifestyle and the solitude that the Great White North offers.


In 1985 Heidi finally felt she and her dogs were ready. She started competing in sprint, fifty mile, and middle distance races in the Yukon Territory in earnest, all the while training the teams for the distance races of North America.


Heidi set her sights on Europeís 1989 Alpirod Stage Race, which runs through the European Alps. This was a new race covering five hundred miles raced in stages averaging thirty to fifty miles, with two stages being run on some dayís. In February of 1989 her team arrived in Europe and when it was all over, Heidi took 19th place.


In the summer of 1989 Heidi relocated to Willow, Alaska to be closer to the Alaskan Racing scene. Her thrust out of Willow became the Yukon Quest. She ran the one thousand miles in 1991 racing from Whitehorse to Fairbanks and came in a respectable 18th.


Throughout the years Heidi was a dog trainer and handler for Peter Thomann. He ran the 1986 Iditarod, finishing in 59th place with the most dogs still in harness when reaching Nome. He competed in the 1987 Iditarod, and in the 1988 race, where he finished in 28th place. He would go on to compete in the 1990 Yukon Quest, racing from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, Canada where he placed 6th with a team of Siberian Huskies.


Peter and Heidi quit their joint venture as team Koko Tengri in 1991 after Peter ran the 1000 mile historic Hope Race from Nome to Wales, Alaska, then was flown by helicopter to Russia where the team ran south along the coast of Chukotka to Anadyr.

In 1990 and 1991 Heidi competed in the Klondike 200 where her best finish was second place. In 1991 Heidi participated in the Moose Creek 300 where she placed 5th. In 1992 Heidi added Alaskan Huskies to her kennel. She returned once again to sprint racing between the years of 1996-1998, with 1998 being the last year that Heidi raced professionally.


In 2000 Heidi launched Northern Lights Adventures, a bed and breakfast in conjunction with kennel tours, dog sled rides, and seminars. Heidi continues to breed Siberian and Alaskan Huskies.


billandpupsWilliam Laughing Bear

William Laughing-Bear, a retired military veteran, fulfilled his life long dream when he relocated from the Pacific Northwest to Alaska in the fall of 2002.


On his first day in Fairbanks he met the legendary pro-musher Charlie Boulding, who encouraged him to live a primitive lifestyle keeping first things first, one day at a time, and to take up mushing.


As a lifelong outdoorsman, Laughing-Bear found his Rubicon, and has never looked back. Moving to the Kenai he entered the University of Alaska Anchorage earning a degree in Human Services. He took up mushing with working dogs and has spent endless hours traveling the trails of Alaska just to be out there. He feels there is no better serenity than standing on the runners of a sled behind his best friends, while smoking a pipe and relishing a mug of hot tea beneath the Northern Lights.


In 2006 he became a volunteer with the Tustemena 200 Dog Sled Race and served on the board of directors for the 2009-2010, 2010-2011 mushing seasons.


In the fall of 2010 Laughing-Bear relocated his team to Willow, Alaska to join Heidi Ruh with Northern Lights Adventures. They share the same philosophy in regards to dog care and believe that dogs should not be kept on chains, but should be kenneled the European way.


Webmaster: Maryanne James                 All Rights Reserved Copyright Northern Lights Adventures 2013
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