Musher Profile: Martin Buser - A Fan Favorite
Photo: Albert Marquez / Planet Earth Adventures
Big Lake, AK
Photo Credit: The Alaska Life
By the Numbers
Number of Iditarod Finishes:
1st (4 times) 1992, 1994, 1997, 2002
8d 22h 46m 2s (2004)
Total Iditarod Earnings:
Has an Iditarod finish record of 33 for 33
Martin Buser is one of the most beloved mushers of all time. He is a fan favorite, not only for his achievements on the trail, but his community involvement off the trail and being known for his sense of humor and positive outlook. He is a motivational speaker to audiences of all sizes with tailored topics such as, “You’re Only As Fast As Your Slowest Dog: Elevating the Entire Team for Maximum Performance” and “Capitalizing on Extreme Challenges.”
Buser has finished the Iditarod in all 33 of his attempts, winning 4 times and placing in the top ten 19 times. He did not run the race in 1982-1985.
Albert Marquez / Planet Earth Adventures
Buser was born in the northern Switzerland city of Winterhur, just 15 miles south of Germany. In 1979 he came to Alaska to work with long-time mushers, Earl and Natalie Norris, to better learn how to care for and mush dogs. Buser ran his first Iditarod in 1980, placing 22nd. Eight races later, in 1992, he won his first Iditarod.
In 2004, Buser set the fastest finish time in Iditarod history of 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes. It wasn’t until ten years later that his time was eclipsed by Dallas Seavey in 2014. However, a factor worth noting, the course in 2004 began in Wasilla, and was 80 miles longer than the 2014 race which started in Willow.
Buser at 2013 Iditarod | Albert Marquez / Planet Earth Adventures
From 1987 to 2000 Buser averaged a 4th place finish in the Iditarod. Over that stretch of time he was one of the most consistent finishers in mushing history. In 1994 and 1997 Buser won the Kuskokwim 300 as well. Buser also won the Copper Basin 300 in 1999, which he preceded with 8 straight second place finishes from 1990 to 1998.
Buser and his kennel, Happy Trails, was featured on the TV show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe as well as Sarah Palin’s Alaska.
Buser is an inductee of the 2017 Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. His incredible achievements would not be complete without his five Leonhard Seppala Awards for outstanding dog care.
Check out The Alaska Life’s other musher profiles.
Joar Leifseth Ulsom
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