Aspen History: ‘The Sled Dog Art’
“Krabloonik: the sled dog art still lives,” stated an article in The Aspen Times on March 31, 1977. “One’s approach to Krabloonik is punctuated by a hellish cacophony; the throaty excitement of 55 large dogs who view each visitor as, potentially, a liberator and an excuse to indulge in the peculiar passion of these canines: pulling sleds. The dogs begin work when they are 1.5 to 2 years old. They begin to slow down by age 8-10, and by 11 or 12, a dog may ‘retire.’ You can’t retire a dog, Jerry (MacEachen) says, each one makes the decision by itself. Each dog one day loses its enthusiasm for the pull and no longer clamors to be a part every team that goes out. The Krabloonik sleds were made by Stuart Mace, who established sled dog teams for the army’s Tenth Mountain Division during World War II. At the war’s end, Mace took 14 dogs and started his Toklat kennel near Ashcroft. Dan (MacEachern) visited Toklat ‘just for something to do one day,’ he says, and ended up spending five years learning from Mace as much as he could about sled dogs. Three winters ago, he took over the business and moved it to its current location near Snowmass. He called it Krabloonik after a reddish dog that was the first dog he ever trained, his first lead dog.” This image shows Krabloonik musher Jerry MacEachen, 1977.