NewsLocal NewsWestern Montana News


How sled dogs prepare for 'Race to the Sky'

Posted at 9:02 PM, Feb 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-08 14:12:29-05

Before the annual Race to the Sky sled dog competition starts, all dogs need to go through inspections before they can embark on their race.

The race will be held on Saturday February 8th, but on Friday all 200 plus dogs came early to get their vet checks.

Veterinarian Dr. Topham is one of the many people involved with getting the dogs ready.

"We have about 200 mushers this year," said Topham. "About 200 dogs. Half of those dogs are going to be running 100 miles."

Topham said all of the dogs have most likely received similar training. most of them start in August, but since there is no snow on the ground they run on dirt pulling ATV's.

She adds most of them have a run rest schedule that would be similar to Olympic athletes.

Some of these dogs have to go through 300 miles, which is why it takes a lot of training, a lot of injury, and fatigue according to Topham.

On Friday morning, students at Helena Middle School got the chance to have a firsthand look at what it takes to compete.

Jed Stephensen from Idaho will be racing this weekend and explained the details of the sport along with all the gear racers need to have to stay warm.

Helena Middle Schooler Freya Elias said "I loved learning how the dogs, like, only 12 dogs can pull such a big sled and how they how they pull it for, like, 300 miles."

Jed and his dogs are just one of the many teams that visited Helena area schools this morning ahead of 35th running of the race this weekend.