Sonja Maas, who lives in Germany, was inspired to draw the 2021 Gold Rush Sled Dog Mail Run art after spending time in Quesnel working with a musher in 2020. (Submitted Photo)

Sled dog mail run artist inspired by 2020 event

Sonja Maas lives in Germany, and spent the 2020 sled dog run in Quesnel with a musher

It’s over 7,500 kms between Quesnel and Germany, where the Gold Rush Sled Dog Mail Run’s 2021 artist lives.

Although there is a wide distance between those two places, Sonja Maas still has a love for the Cariboo.

She lived and worked with a musher from Quesnel for over three months in 2020

“I worked and lived on the farm and took the opportunity to take part in a couple sled dog races, such as the mail run,” she said via email from Germany. “It was big fun and I had a really great time with my host family and the dogs.”

Maas’s art features a dog holding an envelope in its mouth, she drew it digitally.

“Last winter was my very first time in Canada, actually it was my first time being outside of Europe at all,” she said. “I knew nothing about B.C. before I got there. But I think that was the perfect way for me to experience British Columbia, just getting to know the people and the ‘Canadian lifestyle’ by myself. Canadians are so nice compared to Germans.”

Maas said she knew nothing about sled dogs before arriving in Canada.

“I was pretty impressed about how they work together and how excited they are to run and pull the sled,” she said. “I was surprised on how their mood changes from cute fluffy dogs who love to cuddle and being pet to serious athletes who cant wait to get going.”

The inspiration for the artwork began the day of the 2020 mail run banquet.

PHOTOS: [2020] Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run attracts long-time and new mushers

“Taking part in the mailrun, delivering the mailbag they gave me and experiencing all the other stuff surrounding the event, like the musher sports and the banquet, gave me the idea to try and draw my own mailrun picture,” Maas said. “Actually, I already had a rough shape of what I wanted to draw the day of the banquet.”

Sled dogs are not uncommon in Europe, especially in Scandinavian countries, but there are some activities in Germany too.

“The only problem is, we usually dont have a lot of snow, so the mushers here use quads and other vehicles the whole year, not only the first months of mushing season like canadian mushers,” Maas said.

Maas said she expects to get some of the envelopes in the mail, but is hoping for a few surprises.

“My parents are so proud that my drawing got chosen for being on the envelopes,” she said. “But I am open for surprise deliveries, maybe some of the people I met and got to know in canada will send me one, that would be really awesome.”

The Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run will be a one-day affair, with no spectators allowed. Only three teams will make the trip, to comply with COVID-19 rules.

READ MORE: Sled Dogs to hit the trail without spectators

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Sonja Maas, who lives in Germany, was inspired to draw the 2021 Gold Rush Sled Dog Mail Run art after spending time in Quesnel working with a musher in 2020. (Submitted Photo)

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