Sled Dogs Fes­ti­val re­turns

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT - MAR­JORIE COOK

The coun­try’s top dog ath­letes will hit the Snow Farm trails from Au­gust 17 for Wanaka’s an­nual Sled Dog fes­ti­val.

Southern Re­gions Sled Dog Club spokes­woman Sarah Camp­bell said three race days have been sched­uled for 32 teams of fleet-footed ca­nines.

Five Aus­tralian mush­ers are also com­ing to Wanaka, while an­other four Aus­tralians are help­ing of­fi­ci­ate.

Aus­tralian sled dog racer Michael Herbst would be the race mar­shall.

The 2016 fes­ti­val cham­pion David Fitch­ett, of Christchurch, would be back com­pet­ing in the two dog class.

Top Kiwi musher Jon Pin­ney and ski-jorer Larry Nichvolodov would also be com­pet­ing again this year, Camp­bell said.

‘‘We have a great mix­ture of en­trants this year with a num­ber of novice mush­ers, and ju­niors through to those more ex­peri- enced com­ing back for an­other go on the snow,’’ she said.

The sled dog fes­ti­val is the only op­por­tu­nity New Zealand mush­ers have to get out on sleds or skis.

Nor­mally dog teams race on dry­land in forests with wheeled rigs and scoot­ers.

More than 100 peo­ple and 120 dogs would be in­volved in the races, which start at 7am each day. The Wanaka Sled Dog Fes­ti­val has been an an­nual event since 1993.

SUP­PLIED

Sarah Camp­bell and team at the Snow Farm.

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