Established in 2013. Black Spruce Dog Sledding is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Jeff and KattiJo Deeter.
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.
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.
Lindsey Dreese – Guide & Kennel Sitter
Lindsey is a born-and-raised Alaskan, and has been a friend to Black Spruce Dog Sledding since our very beginning in 2013. After spending one winter as our full time handler, Lindsey left to get a “real job” with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. But she couldn’t stay away! Lindsey still runs tours at Black Spruce on every Sunday throughout the winter, and picks up extra shifts during the holidays. She has handled on many races, and spent countless weeks kennel sitting for us when we go out of town. Lindsey also tackles reservations and the general running-of-things when KattiJo is on the race trail.
Lindsey has adopted multiple retired dogs from Black Spruce Dog Sledding.
Aidan Warner – Guide & Handler
Aidan hails from northwest Wisconsin – ironically just a handful of miles from KattiJo’s hometown! Aidan is one of those people who just always knew he belonged in Alaska. After graduating high school, Aidan quickly packed his bags and headed north. He’s lived in North Pole and McCarthy, and has a skill set that includes small engine repair, carpentry, lighting, hunting, trapping, and now mushing!
Aidan and his girlfriend, Kenna, are “handlers” at Black Spruce, which is really just a fancy word for “intern.” They help with all things related to touring, racing, training, and the general running of things!
Kenna Conley – Guide & Handler
Kenna is originally from Arizona, but left a few years ago to pursue her interest in sled dogs. Her first mushing job was working at a tour kennel in northern Minnesota. Following that, she moved to McCarthy, Alaska, where she met Aidan and spent a winter living in a one-room, dry cabin with their new puppy. Surviving that, she was ready for anything!
This winter Kenna is one of two handlers/interns at Black Spruce, where she’s adding all kinds of new sled dog-related experiences to her mushing resume!
Want to join our crew?
It takes a whole team of humans to have a successful team of dogs. Fill out the application below and tell us about yourself! We are no longer hiring for the 2023-2024 season. Please check back in May of 2024!