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The People

Established in 2013. Black Spruce Dog Sledding is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Jeff and KattiJo Deeter. 

jeff-and-kj-idit-finish
a person posing for the camera in the snow

Jeff Deeter – Owner & Guide

Jeff grew up in Alaska, moving all around the state as a child. His father was an artist and a carpenter, and his mother was a school teacher who enjoyed working in remote, Alaskan communities. Jeff saw his first dog sled race as a 6-year old while living in Noorvik, a small native village located north of the Arctic Circle. Jeff was immediately enthralled with the allure of mushing, and knew it was something he wanted to try.

After spending a few years on St. Paul island – a wildlife sanctuary where dogs are forbidden – Jeff’s family finally moved to Wasilla, Alaska when he was a young teenager. There he began working with a mushing couple and their 80 dogs. Jeff ran his first Iditarod in 2008 at the age of 19.

Two years later, Jeff met his wife, KattiJo. They were co-workers at a dog mushing tour company in southeast Alaska. In 2013 Jeff and KattiJo purchased a piece of land, started Black Spruce Dog Sledding, and began construction on their home. Jeff or KattiJo now compete annually in the Iditarod, as well as several other mid-distance races.

a person and a dog in the snow

KattiJo (Katie) Deeter – Owner & Guide

KattiJo is originally from northwest Wisconsin. She has her Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. A lover of wilderness, travel, people and animals, KattiJo spent each summer during college traveling somewhere new and working different outdoor gigs, from summer camps to therapeutic wilderness programs.

After graduating from UW-L in 2008, KattiJo still wasn’t ready to settle down and get a “real job.” So she spent the next couple of years continuing to work her way through most of the contiguous U.S. and by 2010, only Alaska and Hawaii remained on her list of places in America she was itching to visit. A google search for “summer jobs in Alaska” returned an opportunity to work at a dog sledding tour company in Juneau, Alaska. KattiJo met Jeff that summer and they have been together ever since. They got married in 2013 and honeymooned in Hawaii, which she and Jeff call “a tropical Alaska.”

KattiJo ran her first Iditarod in 2022. She and Jeff now take turns competing in that race each year, along with several other mid-distance races throughout Alaska. KattiJo hopes to return home to the midwest some winter to race in Minnesota and Michigan.


Want to join our crew?

NOW HIRING

September 2024 – April 2025

 

We are looking to add 1-2 people (couples OK!) to our kennel for the 2024-2025 season. Kennel Assistants help with all tasks related to caring for our dogs, running tours, and living off-grid in Alaska. New recruits would be well trained as dog sledding tour guides, with the opportunity to do longer training runs, camping trips, or even try racing. This is an awesome opportunity for the right person to experience the beauty of Alaska, learn all about dog mushing — and get paid for it!

Job responsibilities include, but aren’t limited to: feeding, watering, scooping poop, walking dogs, driving sleds, chopping fire wood, clearing trails, painting dog houses, landscaping, shoveling snow, and running tours. Basically: if it needs done, we’ll teach you how to do it! No experience required.

Base compensation includes private housing + some utilities + $150/week food stipend. Guides will also be paid $75 per tour. Expect 2 – 12 tours per week, depending on the time of year. Plan to work on all major holidays. Check out photos of the handler cabin on our Airbnb page!

Kennel Assistant / Tour Guide

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