Heidi was born
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.
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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.
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.
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.
William Laughing Bear
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
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
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.