Sally Manikian

Sally grew up in a household with a menagerie of animals and humans, but absolutely no dogs. Dogs were a complete mystery and almost-fear, until she met her first sled dog in 2007, when on a whim she accepted a position as a guide for a tour company. She connected immediately with the drive and personalities of the dogs she worked with. 

It wasn't until 2011 when she was able to build her own kennel, having spent 4 years learning from tours, sprint mushers, and small mid-distance mushers. So desperately ready to start her own team, she picked up her first four dogs from a friend before she even had a dog box on the truck to transport them in or a bucket to use to feed them. 

Mushing is everything. It is a deep connection to the beautiful spirits of the team she supports, it is a true love for winter wilderness and remote wildness, and it is the strong sense of purpose. More than anything, it is a constant place of learning. 

Long races, and the work and training to prepare for them, are partly about competition and sharing the trail with other teams, but also about winter wilderness and adventure. Watching the sun rise from the heart of the wilderness, after running through the night. Hours that pass with the swish of the runners and the jingle of snaps as the only sound. Taking fast turns and crossing challenging terrain. The crystal clear sky of winter. Finding beauty and grace in the ease of risk. 

Sally has extensive backcountry experience through almost a decade of natural resource management, most recently as a field program manager for the Appalachian Mountain Club, where an average workday took her from a computer to a off-grid construction project to a chainsaw to a composting outhouse to a helicopter and to everything in-between. During her time working for the Randolph Mountain Club as a winter caretaker, she developed her true passion and humble respect for the winter landscape and winter travel. Sally is deeply connected to her community in the Androscoggin Valley and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. 

Home is the mountains of northern New Hampshire, where she lives with her developmentally disabled brother and sister, and serves as their guardian and caregiver. They are also part of the team, and love the dogs as much as she does and help out in their own ways through feeding, loving, and welcoming the dogs inside the house.