Iditarod legend Libby Riddles: where is she now?

Published: Oct. 26, 2016 at 3:26 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

It sits on the side of a hill in Homer. Below lies one of the most spectacular views in Alaska, in a place far from the challenging trails that make up the historic Last Great Race.

It’s the home of Iditarod musher Libby Riddles; the first woman to win the Iditarod 22 years ago this March.

For the past 16 years Riddles has called her spread above Kachemak Bay home, along with her 23 dogs, far from the 60-plus she had while a competitive racer.

It's just the right balance according to Riddles.

"Instead of it being a lot of work, I've got a built in exercise program every day," said Riddles.

For now it’s just the passion without the competition and without the challenges of her former Bush life in the village of Teller with outhouses and no running water.

But Riddles said it goes beyond that.

"It's your psychological therapy hanging out with dogs all day," she said.

Riddles now makes her living during the summer months appearing on Princess Cruise ships as they come to port in Southeast.

She recounts her story of how she ventured out during a dangerous winter storm during the 1985 Iditarod- the only musher to do so and how that risky gamble paid off.

" I'm just glad I did it, to know I was that focused to just go for it", she said.

Riddles said it's about no regrets.

"I just think what would be so much worse is being here thinking, 'Well I wonder what would have happened if I did not go out in that storm that year,'" Riddles siad.

The cruise ship appearances also provide a venue to sell her three children’s books which she said is the main reason she can afford her current lifestyle including a spread of land above Homer and hired help. Riddles' helpers allow her more time to enjoy the actual running of her dogs without spending most of her time feeding and scooping -- lots of scooping.

"I live in a wonderful place. I'm healthy. I can afford to have dogs," she said. "I mean I'm a pretty happy camper ."

Living the dream - above Kachemak Bay. For a woman who says her historic Iditarod win was just the beginning of life along the peaceful trails of Alaska.