Interview with Christina GibsonJunior Dog Musher Q&A
“I think by your second mid-distance race the realization is there that the romance covers up for reality. Not to be negative about it at all, it’s just the truth. When you set out on your first adventure, you have no idea what you’re about to face, or you don’t understand it. But the next time you go, it’s a bit more real.”
Talk about a thought provoking lead-in. Now add the knowledge that the “mid-distance race” is 100 miles in rural Montana, featuring below freezing temperatures and massive amounts of snow. A little more intense, right? It’s also about to be traveled by a solo human and a team of dogs. Oh, and that human (at the time) was 17. Interested in the rest of the story? Check out the full recap of her 2018 Race to the Sky experience here.
Christina reached out to us about a year or so back, asking if we would be willing to help her out with some lighting – our Apex headlamps, to be specific. The Apex series is a long-standing favorite in our line-up, and generally sees the most extreme conditions of all of our products. Waterproof, super bright, and good in cold temperatures, the Apex series has been a favorite of folks in Alaska and other northern parts of the country for quite some time now.
We caught up with Christina earlier this winter to learn a more about how a (now) 18 year old gets into dog mushing, opens her own kennel and still has time to write such well punctuated emails.
Give us some background:
PT: Where did you grow up and where are you now?
CG: I grew up in Redmond, Washington, and multiple other small towns in the general vicinity of Seattle. I am currently in Carlton, Washington.
PT: Was there any location in between that helped shape your interests?
CG: We lived mainly in Duvall, Washington. It happens to be home to the Wilderness Awareness School – the place and people that inspired my love of the outdoors and also provided me with a great outdoor skill set.
PT: Earliest memory of the outdoors?
CG: My Dad’s side of the family always had horses growing up, and my first ever memory is being outside in the pasture with my dad being help up on his horse.
Obviously we’re going to ask you something about lights:
PT: Was there a time when you really needed a light?
CG: I was in the middle of running one of my first mid-distance races. I can’t remember which one, but I was racing for at least 100 miles with my dogs. The sun was starting to go down, and the sky was turning a nice color. We were probably within 20 or 25 miles of the first checkpoint, and I remember it getting dark really fast. I reached up to turn my light on so I could see and I realized I forgot to put it on my head before the sun went down! Oops. I had to dig around in my bag for a while before I found what pocket I put it in. Now I always put my light on my head well before it gets dark!
No socks, no sled race:
PT: Worst or funniest experience as a dog musher?
CG: Oh man. There are so many I’ve lost track. A recent one is heading to the 2019 Pedigree Stage Stop Race. We were on the road for a few hours before I realized I forgot to pack socks… I wasn’t even wearing any on my feet. (We did go buy socks. I did not race without socks.)
A few favorites:
PT: Very favorite thing to do outside?
CG: Definitely running dogs. There’s nothing else that clicks with me quite like running dogs. The companionship and adventure with my team compares to nothing else.
PT: Favorite post adventure food/drink?
CG: Cheeseburgers. 100% no question. I crave a cheeseburger as soon as I finish a dog race!
In closing, we’d like to strongly encourage you to find something that you can be as passionate, dedicated and excited about as Christina is about dog mushing, and her team (and cheeseburgers).
Also – curious about some of her other race experiences? Check out the Whiteout Racing Kennel’s website where she writes regular updates on races, you can check out her schedule and meet some of the team, too. Christina is passionate about focusing on and communicating her dedication to her dog’s training, their care, and quality of life. As she wrote in a recent Facebook post in regards one of her team’s health: “Dogs first. Always.”