As we voyage into the Northeast region of Minnesota for this edition of Make It Minnesota, we look to avid musher and Duluth Trading Company Real Woman model, Amanda Vogel, for her take on Minnesota style in the North. Enticed by Minnesota’s north woods, the miles of trails and the way it snows here, Michigan native Amanda now enjoys a nature-driven Minnesota life. Living in the middle of access to Rainy Lake, Lake Kabetogama, and Ash River, which all connect to Namakan, Sand Point, and Crane Lakes, Amanda reflects, “It’s quiet. We joke that there are more sled dogs in our ‘town’ than humans, but it’s true! If you love and appreciate the beauty and serenity of the outdoors, this is the place to be.” Growing up, Amanda was never allowed to have a dog; however, about fifteen years ago, after graduate school and buying her own home, she welcomed in a Malamute and German Shepherd. Looking for ways to make sure these large working breeds were well exercised, healthy, and happy, she became active with them in dog sledding, search and rescue, as well as showing. It was dog sledding that captured her heart and took hold. “Dog sledding was so much fun! And the dogs loved it. It all ‘snowballed’ from there...”
Amanda loves Minnesota for training her dogs because of the many old logging trails that can be kept up and connected for use training dogs. “Literally, I could run the dogs from here on the border of Northwest Ontario to the Twin Cities if I wanted to!” she exclaims.
When asked how she determines what to wear to a race Amanda explains, “Two things really, warmth and function. You need both. You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of your team. That means protecting yourself from cold, wind, frostbite, and being able to still be agile and move. Clothes have to fit well and allow range of motion, while keeping you warm.”
What is her absolute favorite brand to get the job done? Duluth Trading Company. “Their products are tested by folks like me who really put them to the test. They listen to feedback from customers to make sure their gear works as hard as the people who wear them, and they stand behind their gear. Year round I live and work in their products at the Snomad Ranch and in the outdoors.”
Amanda laughs as she defines the type of style embraced by those living in Northern Minnesota: “Our style is definitely built around our outdoor lives. What works, what fits, and what makes us look good.”
So for a woman of the North, is form or function more important? “Because I need to look professional and presentable in my workwear, and because if you can’t move, you can’t work, I appreciate that Duluth Trading Company provides products that are both functional and fashionable. I don’t have to wear menswear or children’s gear anymore to try to find something that fits and functions. It was a losing battle. Duluth Trading doesn’t just ‘shrink it and pink it’. Their products are made for tough women who appreciate not having to dress like a man to get their jobs done. Whether I’m grooming or clearing trails, training or racing dogs, doing daily chores, maintaining ranch equipment, or even turning critters into dog food, their gear lets me do all of my jobs year round.”
Amanda’s personal style is fit and function, preferring fashion over frumpiness. She prepares her dogs with the same care, explaining, “while I love Duluth Trading Company gear for myself, my canine athletes love Howling Dog Alaska for their harnesses and dog coats! Function, fashion, and protection from the elements is important to all members of Snomad Racing! I also need a well-designed fur ruff to protect my face from the wind, snow, and frostbite out there in the brutal elements. You simply cannot be out in 50 below in 50 mph winds in the middle of a blizzard without fur protection. I have been extremely happy with my made to order custom ruff from Dog Head Designs.”
Please check out and meet the dogs of Snomad Racing at www.snomadracing.com and cheer on her team at upcoming events, such as Minnesota’s John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon at the end of January, 2016.