Sled dogs back at Falls Creek

Alpine Observer - - Front Page - By JUSTIN JENVEY

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.”

PHOTO: Chris Hock­ing

HIKE: Tamara Mur­phy will be one of those rac­ing in the Falls Creek Sled Dog Clas­sic this Au­gust.

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