The "snow dancers" have evidently done their part. With three feet or more of new snow over these past two weekends, and more on the way, the sixth annual Grand Mesa Summit Challenge (formerly known as the Rocky Mountain High Sled Dog Sprints) sled dog race is a go.
Racing will be held Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28-29, according to Steve Bethka, race coordinator for the Colorado Mountain Mushers and race organizer for the Grand Mesa Summit Challenge.
The first Rocky Mountain High Sled Dog Sprints took place on the Grand Mesa in February 2007. In 2008 the race was canceled, due to high winds and blowing snow. And in 2010 high winds and blowing snow caused the second day of the race to be canceled.
At more than 10,000 feet in altitude, the Grand Mesa Summit Challenge has the reputation of being "the highest sled dog race in North America." It is organized and sponsored by the Colorado Mountain Mushers and the Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club. The race is free, offering spectators the opportunity to experience the excitement of competitive sled dog racing and skijoring first hand.
An International Sled Dog Racing Association (ISDRA) sanctioned race, this year the Grand Mesa Summit Challenge will include both a one- and two-dog Skijor, a three-dog Junior Sled; sprints for teams of four, six and eight dogs. The race will also include a non-sanctioned eight-dog mid-distance sprint, a three- and four-dog Sportsman class and others.
Teams will be sent out at one-minute intervals, starting with the eight-dog mid distance class at 8:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday (ISDRA members are scheduled first), and winners in each class will be determined by combining race times for both days.
Parking and race areas are located 20 miles north of Cedaredge, at Mesa Top parking lot just west of the Delta/Mesa county line off Hwy. 65, and one-half mile east of the intersection of Highway 65 and Lands End Road. Signs will be posted at the race site entrance.
This year's race is being promoted as a fund raiser to benefit the Partners youth programs of Mesa, Delta, Montrose and Ouray counties. Bethka said a symposium, featuring John Perry, and a silent auction will take place on Friday evening, Jan. 27, at the Canyon View Vineyard Church, starting at 7 p.m., to benefit the Partners youth programs. Perry is a six-time ISDRA gold medalist.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children under 18 with proceeds going to the Partners Youth Mentoring Programs. The church is located at 736 24 Road in Grand Junction.
For more information call Steve Bethka at 201-9577, or go online at www.colomtnmushers.org or www.rmsdc.com.
On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Colorado Mesa University Nordic ski team, along with the Grand Mesa Nordic Council, is sponsoring a "vintage" ski race. According to the GMNC website, "Racers will start together in parade formation and ski one lap of the 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) sprint course."
All eras and types of skis and ski attire are encouraged. The event will be scored in figure skating style, with points being given for finish time, style, costume (e.g., vintage ski apparel), ski age and material (extra points for wooden skis) and crowd appeal.
Prizes and awards will be given for best in show, best skis, attire, and any other categories that the judges deem appropriate. The website states, "Pull out your wooden skis, that old neon ski suit or your woolen knickers and join the fun."
The Vintage Ski Race will take place in between rounds of the Mesa State Invitational Sprint.
In addition to the Sled Dog race and the "Vintage" cross-country ski race, starting on Friday, Jan. 27, and running through Sunday, Jan 29, the Delta SnoKrusers Snowmobile Club will be hosting the Colorado Snowmobile Association's (CSA) annual convention. The convention will feature rides throughout the weekend as well as a dinner, bonfire and dance on Friday at Alexander Lodge, and a social hour, awards banquet and dance on Saturday at the Cedaredge Community Center, and the CSA's quarterly meeting on Sunday, with a continental breakfast at the Cedaredge Community Center.
According to Katie Himes, president of the Delta Sno-Krusers snowmobile club, the location of the rides has yet to be determined, "because we are waiting to see how many riders we have each day and what the snow conditions and weather are. However we are tentatively planning rides to Electric Mountain and Vega Lodge for lunch on Saturday as long as we can get there.
"We are trying to give space to the dog sledders and skiers during the convention as well," said Himes. "There is new snow and I know everyone is excited to play in it!"blog comments powered by Disqus