Sled Dogs Festival returns
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.
Sarah Campbell and team at the Snow Farm.