The 2016 Dinner Plain Sled Dog Challenge, Australia’s only sled dog race on snow, is being held over the weekend of 13th & 14th August at Dinner Plain, 8km east of Mt Hotham.
This annual event attracts Australia’s finest mushers (drivers) & sled dog teams as well as international competitors from Canada, New Zealand and the United States. Around 350 dogs will race for victory, dodging and weaving their way through Dinner Plain’s stunning terrain & snow gum lined ski trails in pursuit of the fastest time.
Pitting their athleticism & courage against each other & elements of difficult terrain, possible blizzards, snow, ice and fog, teams set out from the Village at 9am each day. Race organiser & experienced musher, Rob Stevens comments “More than any other race it tests the depth of the relationship between the Musher and their dogs. In this particular environment one is totally dependent on their dogs, particularly lead dogs, they need to be both fast and responsive to voice commands, while also able to guide the team out of difficulty.”
The Dinner Plain Sled Dog Challenge is only open to experienced Mushers 15 years and older, who must have competed in at least 3 dirt based races. Mushers must also have a good knowledge of sled dog rules and etiquette.
The most common breeds of dogs raced are Siberian Huskies, which are quick on their feet and Alaskan Malamutes, which are renowned for their endurance. These two breeds make up the lions share of the teams, however other breeds are welcome to compete.