Sled Dog Stage Racing Returns to New England!

January 15, 2014
The Berlin Reporter

GREAT NORTH WOODS—North Country Mushers is pleased to announce the first annual Great North Woods Sled Dog Challenge, to be held from Feb. 8-10. This stage race will take place in the northern New Hampshire communities of Twin Mountain, Colebrook, and Berlin, where a different leg or “stage” of the race will run each day.

The event will kick off in Twin Mountain on Friday evening, Feb. 7, with a banquet where the public can meet the mushers. On Saturday morning, Feb. 8 the first 30-mile stage will start in Twin Mountain.

Spectators can enjoy dogsled rides, a bonfire, ther family-friendly events while waiting for racers to complete this first part of the race.

Each evening the mushers and their teams will travel to a new community to begin the next stage of the race. Sunday they will run 40 miles in Colebrook, and Monday, February 10th the race will culminate with a 20-mile leg in Jericho Mountain State Park, Berlin.

The cumulative times of each stage are added together to determine the final winner of the entire 90-mile race. There will be an awards ceremony held later that afternoon. Stage racing, a long-time popular concept in the west, is a series of shorter races that are hosted by a different community each day.

Teams and mushers rest overnight between stages in the respective hosting towns. This type of racing hearkens back to the earliest New England sled dog races.

Called “point-to-points” according to sled dog historian Nancy Cowan of Deering they utilized the roads that were then “plowed” or actually rolled for the normal traffic of a few autos, horse-drawn sleighs, and heavy sledges pulled by oxen.

These point-to-point competitions continued until auto traffic became heavier.

It is also interesting to note that in 1922 two of the host communities of this stage race, Berlin and Colebrook, were the sites of one of the first serious sled dog races in New Hampshire.

This sled dog race is expected to attract noted mushers from the New England area, including 2012 Junior Iditarod finisher Bailey Cross Vitello, of Brookfield, Massachusetts. Also that year Bailey successfully completed the famed eight-day International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race in Jackson, Wyoming as the youngest competitor ever.

The Great North Woods Sleddog Challenge is being presented by North Country Mushers and Real Life Adventures of Twin Mountain with additional help from the Colebrook Ski-Bees, Twin Mountain Snowmobile Club and White Mountain Ridge Runners.

For more information contact Race Director Jaye Foucher at 573-5799.

You can also check the website for the event at www.nhstagerace.com

 

 

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