Sled dogs back at Falls Creek
IT’S one of the marquee events of winter and next weekend will once again see sled dog racing at Falls Creek.
Nearly 30 teams and up to 150 huskies are expected for this year’s Falls Creek Sled Dog Classic on August 4-5.
The event which has been held since 2011 is unique in that it is the only sled dog race in the country that takes place through a resort village.
Race organiser Vaughan Winther said the classic continues to grow in popularity while the ongoing support of the Falls Creek community was a big reason why mushers keep bringing their dogs back.
“We’ve maintained a very strong and loyal entry base and we’ve got all our teams returning again plus some new ones,” he said.
“Of the four sled dog races in Australia, Falls Creek is the only mountain where businesses actually sponsor teams and given the cost of getting on the mountain that keeps people coming back.
“It’s our seventh year now and the event keeps growing, the race has become quite well known and people come from all over to see it.
“The mountain reports to us that their visitation up over the weekend and it not only benefits the resort but the accommodation down in Mt Beauty too.”
Regular contenders Peter Dobbs and Darren Watson will headline the 27 team field that will see two, three, four and six dog classes.
Racing, including the junior challenge, will again take place on the Friday from Windy Corner, out along the Nordic trails before the feature race on Saturday night.
This year’s main event is set to see a change from single starts to dual starts with dogs going head to head up Wombat’s Rambler for the first time.
The fastest teams are expected to finish the 4km course in a little over 10 minutes.
People will be able to catch the action from multiple locations in the village including at the finish line in Slalom Plaza.
Mr Winther said spectators will also have the chance to meet mushers and their huskies prior to the race on Saturday.
“Last year we did a meet and greet for the public with some mushers and their race dogs out the front of QT and we’ll do that again,” he said.
“People can come and have a chat and pat the dogs, that interaction is something a bit different and is something the mushers love and is why the event is so popular up here.
“We’ve started to see people rooting for their favourite mushers and dogs they’ve gotten to know over the years so it’s a really great atmosphere and one we hope to continue.”
HIKE: Tamara Murphy will be one of those racing in the Falls Creek Sled Dog Classic this August.