The eighth annual Grand Mesa Summit Challenge (formerly known as the Rocky Mountain High Sled Dog Sprints) is scheduled to take place this weekend. According to race organizer Steve Bethka, the races will be held Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25-26, weather permitting.
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. The weather forecast for this weekend is calling for sunny skies and mild temperatures — great conditions for racers and spectators.
At more than 10,000 feet in altitude, the Grand Mesa Summit Challenge has the reputation of being "... the highest international sprint sled dog race in North America, on the earth's biggest flat top mountain," said Bethka.
This year's event is being hosted and organized by the Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club (RMSDC). Sponsors include Chow Down Pet Supplies (Grand Junction, Montrose, Fruita, Fairplay and Evergreen); Grand Mesa Lodge and Mesa Lakes Lodge on the Grand Mesa; and the Tri-R and Howard Johnson motels and the Cedaredge Lodge (all located in Cedaredge).
The race is free to the public, offering spectators the opportunity to experience firsthand the fun and excitement of world-class and novice competitive sled dog racing and skijoring. Spectators are asked to leave their dogs at home to avoid distracting the competitors.
The Grand Mesa Summit Challenge is an International Sled Dog Racing Association (ISDRA) sanctioned race. According to information on the RMSDC website, teams will be sent out at one-minute intervals, starting with the eight-dog sprint class at 9 a.m. on both days, followed by the six-dog sprint class, two-dog skijor, four-dog sprint class and one-dog skijor (in that order). ISDRA members are scheduled first, and winners in each class will be determined by combining race times for both days.
The non-sanctioned three-dog junior, and the three- and four-dog sportsman classes will run concurrently following a two-dog non-sanctioned skijor class.
Parking and race areas are located 20 miles north of Cedaredge, at the Mesa Top Trails 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 (FS 100). Signs will be posted at the race-site entrance.
For more information go online at www.rmsdc.com.blog comments powered by Disqus