Katie Orlinsky’s photography tells stories about the everyday lives of people in extreme situations, capturing the intimate moments of daily life behind larger global issues. For the past six years a large portion of her work has focused on...
Dog sled racing, also referred to as "mushing", is a defining symbol of Northern cold weather culture. Although relatively unknown in most of the world mushing is the official state sport of Alaska and has a long history throughout the region, from hunter-gatherer communities using dogs to pull sleds in the Arctic Circle 3,000 years ago to the European settlers of the Alaskan Gold Rush era. Today the defining symbols of mushing are the famous 1,000-mile dog sled races the Iditarod and Yukon Quest, as well as the men and women who race them known as "mushers." Mushing happens to be one of the only co-ed professional sports where women and men compete on equal footing in what many consider to be the toughest races in the world in some of the harshest conditions known to man. Mushers continue to live that same rugged lifestyle all year long. The dog care of a kennel and training of a competitive team is a relentless commitment that requires years of dedication and hard work. Meanwhile dog sled racing has become even more challenging in the face of climate change in Alaska, now the fastest warming place in the world. Shrinking snowpack and increasingly unreliable river ice have made pre-season training nearly impossible across most of the state, and major races have been re-routed or cancelled. As mushing faces climate change head on, it threatens to not only change a sport, but also an entire culture and way of life.