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Sled dog races, skijoring competition return to Lost Trail Pass

Darby Dog Derby
Posted at 10:57 AM, Jan 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-19 16:03:52-05

LOST TRAIL PASS — The annual dog sledding competition on Lost Trail Pass has been taking place this weekend.

Dozens of people -- and even more dogs -- have returned for the annual Darby Dog Derby. The event -- which is being held near the Montana/Idaho border -- features sled dog and skijoring races.

“It’s basically cross country skiing with your dog, explained Erin Belmont of Darby who’s marking just her second year competing in the race.

"There's definitely some adrenaline, and a little bit of competition -- especially for the dog. He loves to chase other dogs. He smells them on the trail and tries to keep up and go faster,” Belmont added.

She says they're still getting the hang of it, but love being outdoors together. Their race lasted about an hour through the Lost Trail Mountain area at Gibbons Pass.

Bob Wilson of Athol, Idaho says the sport makes you and your pup a team,” the dogs are fun to work with, they're really very rewarding."

Wilson – who has been running sled dogs with his wife for almost 30 years -- says the Darby race is his favorite.

"They always have a great trail, a great race organization. It's just a small group of folks, the Bitterroot Mushers that put this on, but they do a great job,” he told MTN News.

The Bitterroot Mushers are a group of dog sled competitors who are based out of the Bitterroot Valley.

"I've met people by doing the Darby Dog Derby, so I've made some friends. Everyone's super nice, and really welcoming and encouraging,” Wilson said.

The events wrap up with an awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon.