JACKSON HOLE — Grab a dogsled. Hook up some dogs. Get on, hang on, and be off. No other method of winter travel compares, Frank Teasley says. And he ought to know.
Teasley is the owner and proprietor of Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours. He’s also an eight-time veteran of Alaska’s legendary Iditarod sled dog race. Wait, make that 12-time.
“I’ve competed in it eight times, but I’ve run it twelve times,” Teasley says. “The other four were training runs. I just went out there by myself — no trail, no support.”
Frank’s what you’d call hardcore. He prepared for his first Iditarod by camping out in a wall tent in Wyoming, year round, for seven years. Not because he thought it was the best way to get ready, but because it was the only way he could afford to keep his dogs.
Turns out it was pretty good training. After wintering outdoors all those years, the Iditarod wasn’t such a big deal.
“I still got up, put my boots on in the morning, and got moving,” he says. “There was no reason to sit around. It wasn’t that comfortable. Might as well go run dogs.”
Speaking of dogs, Frank keeps 180 of them on hand these days to handle sled-hauling duties for his tour business.
“They all have names and personalities. I have some sweethearts, I have some boneheads,” he says. But he loves them all. “They’re basically my kids.”
Frank also loves introducing guests to the wonder of Wyoming in winter.
“There’s no other state I’m aware of that offers what Wyoming offers,” he says. “Whether it’s hunting, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, dogsledding, wildlife photography, it’s all here.”
With 1,500 miles of groomed trails throughout the state, Wyoming is perfect for going the distance, whatever your preferred mode of travel. Also worth noting, according to Frank: “We have better snow than Alaska.”
Frank’s been in Wyoming for 35 years—almost long enough to be considered a local. In that time he’s learned a thing or two about how to get the most from a visit to his adopted home state.
“You just need to unplug and slow down and absorb it all,” Teasley says. “In Wyoming you don’t have to be distracted, except by what’s around you. Which is a whole lot of nature.”