2020 Iditarod Winner Thomas Waerner Stranded in Alaska Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2020

WILLOW, AK - MARCH 08: Sled dogs of Thomas Waerner's (Torpa, Norway) team run during the restart of the 2020 Iditarod Sled Dog Race at Willow Lake on March 8, 2020 in Willow, Alaska. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

Thomas Waerner's victory at the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race concluded on March 18.  

He has been stranded in Alaska since but may finally get the chance to return to his home of Norway in June.

Beth Bragg of the Anchorage Daily News reported the news, noting travel restrictions and flight cancellations amid the COVID-19 pandemic mean Waerner and the 16 dogs who helped him win the race have been in Alaska for months.

"I like Alaska a lot," Waerner said. "It's kind of my dream place. But I have a family."

Per Bragg, Waerner's wife, five children and 35 sled dogs are waiting for him in Norway, and the reunion is now planned for June because a historic DC-6 plane that is parked in Fairbanks, Alaska, is scheduled to fly to Sola, Norway, to become part of the Air History Museum.

The plan is for Waerner to take a COVID-19 test and then return home on the DC-6.

"We are hitchhiking," Waerner said. "The plane is going to Norway, and we are going with them. We are so lucky."