Sled dog racing through the Falls Creek village excites the crowds Canine cruising under the stars
HIKE! That’s go in sled dog talk and this month is definitely going to the dogs with huge events in the mountains this month.
While the Dinner Plain Altitude 5000 event has been a staple on the calendar since the early 1990s the village run at Falls Creek is a relative newcomer.
Tamara Murphy, who trains her dogs – Siberian Huskies and two Malamutes, in the pine forests in the Ovens Valley, is astounded at the crowds they attract at Falls.
“It’s the only night event on our racing calendar so that has its own unique challenges with vision and weather,” she said.
“But it is very special on the Saturday night with the race through the village – people are on the balconies, on the streets and at the start and finish, it’s massive.
“At Dinner Plain you’re using the cross country trails and there is a lot more space and it’s much flatter.”
Murphy caught the racing bug from her father.
“We had bred the dogs for about 20 years and started going to the snow just for fun rather than the racing,” she said.
“I guess I was about 10 when I got a scooter and started running with the dogs, Dad started racing and eventually I caught the bug.
“The first show race at Falls Creek was my first real competitive event and it has snowballed since.” Murphy says the dogs love it. “They have to want to race, you can’t teach that,” she said.
“We do it for the love of the sport, the love of the dogs and they too are doing what they love.
“Ideally we would have been out training three or four times a week but this winter has been pretty wet and that hasn’t helped the dogs or my fitness.
“We don’t just go along for the ride – most of the time we are running with them, through the soft snow that’s tough and especially when you are wearing footy boots which are the only things that can get that grip.”
The Falls Creek Sled Dog weekend is on August 6 to 8.