Many Iditarod Mushers Stock Up On Music, Movies And Audio Books For The Trail

Brent Sass takes a moment with his dogs. The Eureka musher was disqualified from the 2015 Iditarod Tuesday night. (Photo by Emily Schwing)
Brent Sass takes a moment with his dogs. The Eureka musher was disqualified from the 2015 Iditarod Tuesday night. (Photo by Emily Schwing)

Travelling a thousand miles by dog team can be exciting, but many of those miles can also be repetitive, so many mushers carry iPods stocked with music, audio books, and even movies.

When he pulled into Manley, Brent Sass joked about what was on his iPod this year.

“A friend gave me their entire music collection, so I have no idea,” Sass said. “That’s the beauty of it: all brand new music.”

Sass likes to listen to movies on his iPod as he travels down the trail.

“I have Karate Kid, I’m pretty stoked about that and what else do I have on there?” he said. “The Big Lebowski is always a favorite and what else do I have on there?  I have Dumb and Dumber Too, just because. I got some high quality stuff!”

Sass was disqualified from this year’s race because his iPod is equipped with two-way communication capabilities. Race Marshall Mark Nordman says he knows there are other mushers on the trail with similar devices, but the race does not plan to search sled bags.

It’s unclear what kind of iPod Kelly Maixner is carrying, but he says he filled it with audio books for his trip down the Iditarod trail.

Maixner: “I just was working on American Sniper.”

Emily: “Did you see the movie?”

Maixner: “I haven’t seen it, from the book though, I think that movie would be rather exciting. What else? I have Game of Thrones series.”

Emily: “Do you watch that TV show?”

Maixner: “I do watch the TV show.”

Emily: “So how does it compare?”

Maixner: “I haven’t started that yet…. And Ender’s Game and Gone Girl, but I haven’t seen that movie yet either.”

But Hugh Neff is one musher who doesn’t like to listen to anything when he’s moving down the trail. But with so many miles to travel down the Yukon River this year, Neff said he was worried about getting bored.

“To tell you the truth, I am a little bit worried about that,” Neff said. “It’s going to be interesting. it’s going to be a fast race, but it’s going to be a monotonous. In some respects and the river here is so different compared to the Quest, too.  The Quest is just more jumbly and more scenic in some respects too.”

Martin Buser says he knows the trail will have its moments, but he stops short of calling it ‘boring.’

“Well, boring is only for boring people,” he said. We don’t let people use that word.  We raised our kids and they were never allowed to say the b-word, and the b-word was boring.”

Even so, Buser says he has an iPod filled with music from his genre of choice: classic rock.