Name: Joar Leifseth Ulsom
Birth Date: February 21, 1987
Birth Place: Mo i Rana, Norway
Residence: Willow, Alaska
Joar kneeling with his leaders in Nome in 2016 Iditarod. Photo by: KNOM Radio Mission
By The Numbers
Number of Iditarod Finishes: 6 out of 6 attempts (2013-2018)
Best Finish: 1st place (2018)
Best Time: 8d 11h 0m 40s (2017)
Total Iditarod Earnings: $253,146.00
Impressive Statistic: Holds the record for fastest Iditarod rookie. Jerry Austin Rookie of the Year 2013.
Joar leaves the Unalakleet checkpoint Iditarod 2018 Video Courtesy of Kale Casey Live
Joar Leifseth Ulsom comes from Mo i Rana, Norway, a town only 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Joar’s dreams of dog mushing began when he was a kid watching movies on the Iditarod and having a couple of the neighbor’s dogs pull him around on skis for fun (also known as Skijoring). As an adult, after a chance meeting with a sled dog racer in the mountains of Norway, Joar was given the opportunity to race the man’s dog team. Joar’s racing career started in 2007 and he’s been an international success ever since. He loves spending quality time with his dogs and wants to show America how popular and competitive dog powers sports are in Norway. Even being in Alaska, he still maintains his membership in a Norwegian dog club.
Joar with fellow Norwegian mushers Ralph Johannessen (left) 2 time Iditarod Champ Robert Sørlie (right). Photo by: Arne O. Holm
Joar participated in races across Scandinavia until 2011 when Joar moved to Alaska with his sled dog team. In 2012 he placed 6th in the 1000-mile Yukon Quest, “The Toughest Sled Dog Race in the World.” In 2012 Joar raced in the Nadezhda Hope Race in Chukotka, Russia, known as the “toughest race in Eurasia.” He finished first, set a record time, and became the first non-native winner in 20 years. In 2013, Joar set another record, this time at the Iditarod Race where he placed 7th and set the fastest rookie finish time in history, which earned him the Jerry Austin Rookie of the Year Award.
Joar returned to Russia in 2014 and became a two-time champion of the Nadezhda Hope Race. Since his rookie year in the Iditarod he’s continued to place competitively, in the top seven, five years in a row.
Joar is part of the group, Racing Beringia, a team of sled dog mushers who participate in races across the region of Beringia from the Yukon, through Alaska, to Russia. They journey through communities and use their experiences to develop a free curriculum to educate people in a broad range of topics involving life in Beringia, dog sledding, and more.
Joar is currently in 2nd place in Koyuk in the 2019 Iditarod with only 171 miles left to go. Anything can happen in the Iditarod, but his chances of securing a championship are very high.
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