Just before Christmas 2019, Beyond was proud to sponsor the first annual “Not Quite Solstice MASH” up in Willow, Alaska. “MASH” means “Mushers Bash,” and it was a celebration of all things dog power: all the different forms of pup-powered movement and the culture around it. The MASH was specifically created by Beyond and the Alaska Dog Center to remove the stress of competition and instead focus on the connection with dogs, their role in transportation, and on Alaskan and Native culture.
The event consisted of a 4-mile track that participants were free to complete under any form of dog power they liked, ranging from full-scale mushing setups to a pair of skis and one or two enthusiastic doggos. A proper “un-race,” the focus was on simply getting around the track, with winners chosen by a drawing at the end. Non-racing dogs were encouraged to participate and have their day, free catered noms were provided by our friends at Sheep Creek Lodge, and awards for being the best dressed were given out to dogs and their humans.
The MASH doubled as the official launch of the Alaska Dog Center, a center for dog lovers and the home of Non-stop dogwear, Kale's Meat Market, and the Dog Power Hour podcast studio. Beyond Explorer Jayme Dittmar and Beyond president Rick Elder were on hand for the festivities, both sporting the K8 - Allta Parka. Rick completed his personal system with K1 - Long Johns and a K2 - Pullover topped with K7 - Cetra Pants (coming soon), the K3 - Prima Lochi Jacket; he didn’t feel any part of the sustained -17°F at the event (“I was actually too hot,” he laughed when asked).
Prizes were handed out and a lot of fun was had on the track, but we were most proud to honor Alaskan and Native culture and the timeless role of dogs in human movement to this very day. We’re already hard at work developing new gear optimized for polar movement based on feedback we got at the event from our Beyond Explorers, and we’ll be back next year for the second annual Not Quite Solstice MASH!