Estonian earns world champion title in Swedish dogsledding competition ({{commentsTotal}})

Ülle Aaslav-Kaasik and her Siberian Huskies (center) welcomed home to Paldiski on Sunday following her championship win in Sweden. March 12, 2017.
Ülle Aaslav-Kaasik and her Siberian Huskies (center) welcomed home to Paldiski on Sunday following her championship win in Sweden. March 12, 2017. Source: (Baltosport/Facebook)

Ülle Aaslav-Kaasik and her sleddogs were welcomed home from Sweden on Sunday after taking first place in the inaugural PD160 pulka class race of the Polar Distance WSA Long Distance World Championship.

Friends and clubmates surprised Aaslav-Kaasik upon her arrival home near Paldiski. It had taken the world champion and her team 26 hours to complete the 160-kilometer — or just under 100-mile — race.

"If you have very good sleddogs, then you'll have good results as well," she described as the secret to her success. "And lots of work as well."

Aaslav-Kaasik and her team raced with a pulka-style weighted sled, which is pulled by up to four dogs and followed by the musher on skis. The pulka race kicked off on Friday night, when snow had erased any semblance of a trail.

"And since my [dogs] pulled quickly beginning at the starting line and we picked off everyone ahead of us and gained the lead, we became the trailblazers, and meanwhile we got lost and sank into the snow," the Estonian champion said, describing how their race went. "Veli was the dog who made it to the finish line as world champion."

Missy did the brunt of the work on the trail, however, and the team was rounded out by Enid. The team's fourth dog, Esme, had to sit this race out due to a nail injury, which meant that Aaslav-Kaasik competed in this race with just a three-dog team and won.

"An Italian took second after me — he had four dogs — then a woman from the Netherlands — she had four dogs — then a Swede — four dogs," she recalled. "Toward the back were those with just one dog."

"This is impressive, really, that an Estonian woman goes and takes the world championship," commended dogsledding club Baltosport board member Aigar Kuus. "This is great! This is definitely an impressive achievement!"

The huskies have rested up since their big race in Särna and are once again ready to go.

Editor: Aili Vahtla