Introducing Some Fellow Travelers: Iditarod Musher Jan Steves


All her life, my younger sister Jan has been into dogs, hiking, and skiing rather than (like her big brother) Botticelli, Berlin, and Belgian beers. At the age of 52, she followed her dream and became an arctic dog musher. I’ve never seen her happier.

Right now, Jan is preparing to enter her fourth Iditarod. Her gusto, grit, and determination are an inspiration to me. And just looking at these dogs almost makes me want to put on my mukluks and toast s’mores.

My company is sponsoring Jan’s 20-dog Iditarod team. I love the team’s name: “One Ear Up.” And Jan has agreed to let the Rick Steves’ Europe gang of travelers come up with nicknames for four of her dogs. Since we’re all about European travel, we thought it would be fun to have a contest to come up with the best European-inspired nicknames. Jan says it’s best if they are short and concise — maximum two syllables.

So, here’s the deal. I’ll kick off the competition with two proposed doggie names: Picnic and Yodel. I can hear it now: a moose leaping across the path in the snowy distance under towering peaks, as Jan hollers, “Picnic!…Yodel!” Take a look at these gorgeous dogs and help us find the best dog names. Leave your suggestions in the comments of this blog post or on my Facebook page.

The Iditarod starts on March 7. If you’d like to stow away on Jan’s sled and root her on, check out her insider’s account of her personal quest at The blog gives an ongoing and intimate look at training and prepping for the world’s greatest race and a truly amazing slice of our culture.

Go, Jan, go!

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14 Replies to “Introducing Some Fellow Travelers: Iditarod Musher Jan Steves”

  1. We would like to suggest “Lucca” as a nickname. We traveled through Europe on a cruise this summer (taking Rick Steve’s guidebooks with us) and have beautiful memories of our visit to Lucca, Italy. It is a good strong name for a sled dog.
    Good luck, Jan!

  2. Matterhorn (for the snow on top), T-time (for the T on his face), Siyah (means black in Turkish and sounds a little like “see ya” which is appropriate for a racer), and Cromwell (leader of the roundheads).

  3. I suggest Skilo. I knew a German Shepherd named Skilo growing up and was told that it was “dog” in Greek.

  4. In honor of my next trip to Italy, although you have not said if they are girls or boys

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