Continental News - International Federation of Sleddog Sports, the World Governing Body of Sleddog Sports - Sled Dog Sports Wed, 04 Dec 2013 07:53:55 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Finland to host European Championships on Snow 2014 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=544:finland-to-host-european-championships-on-snow-2014&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=544:finland-to-host-european-championships-on-snow-2014&Itemid=670 Finland to host European Championships on Snow 2014

It has been confirmed that the IFSS European Championships 2014 on snow will take place on March 7th, 8th and 9th in Finland. The site chosen is Metsäkartano (Rautavaara Commune) located between Iisalmi and Nurmes in Eastern Finland. We will have more updates and information shortly.

]]> (IFSS Admin) Europe Sat, 03 Aug 2013 14:06:39 +0000
France to host IFSS ECh Dryland 2014 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=532:france-to-host-ifss-ech-dryland-2014&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=532:france-to-host-ifss-ech-dryland-2014&Itemid=670


Latest news (June 17, 2013):

The application from France to hold the European Championships Dryland 2014 has been accepted by the IFSS Director Europe and the European Sports Committee. The proposed site is located in Lamotte-Beuvron, a city 170 km south of Paris.

Lamotte-Beuvron (France)


This site is located 170 km south of Paris, at Lamotte-Beuvron (Indre et Loire) just upon the Loire river, in the Sologne region.

The race site will be inside a very large property owned by the French Equestrian Federation where IFSS can use almost all the trails, all the accommodations facilities for all the competitors and handlers at fair prices ( 3 restaurants, more than 200 beds on site, huge parkings with water, toilets, showers …).

There will be no road crossing on the trail.

The site is used to organize 1 000 horse’s event.

The French Dryland Championships have already been organized on this site.

The site website is

]]> (IFSS Admin) Europe Fri, 21 Jun 2013 13:48:20 +0000
Press Release from BSSF index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=509:press-release-from-bssf&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=509:press-release-from-bssf&Itemid=670
Press Release from the British Sleddog Sports Federation (BSSF):
We would like to officially announce the formation of the British Sleddog Sports Federation, an exciting new era for all aspects of the sport in the UK!  
The BSSF has been set up by a small number of like-minded Sleddog Athletes to continue the progression and development of the sport of Sleddog Racing here in Great Britain. The BSSF has already gained provisional membership to the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS) and is working towards bringing together the sports of mushing, canicross, bikejor, skijor and scooter for the first time.
We have lots to offer sleddog athletes in the UK!!!
You will be part of a strong and internationally recognised organisation that ensures a professional, safe, friendly and fun environment to enjoy all aspects of sleddog sport. One that aims to provide an umbrella organisation that will pull athletes together at all levels, from all forms, disciplines and breeds. The BSSF will be a voice for all athletes, clubs and organisations at a national and international level and give the sport representation with regard to other organisations and government bodies with in the UK.
The chance to race in World class events on British Soil, enter national championships, attend our Mush Excel workshops and clinics, have access to a wealth of information regarding different aspects of competition, two dedicated athletes representatives and regional discipline reps working hard for you to give you a real voice in the sport.
In the near future we aim to offer membership packages that include a British or international Driver Identification number, insurance that will cover training and competition in the UK and abroad, access to international competition, a dedicated website and the chance to become a member of a genuine Team GB sleddog team!
With our initial Bronze level membership available for only £20, what’s stopping you becoming a member?
Support the BSSF and our amazing sport in the UK and join now!
Please visit
<> for more information.

]]> (IFSS Admin) Europe Sun, 12 May 2013 11:51:47 +0000
Arleigh Reynolds ends IFSS WCh Alaska 2013 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=471:arleigh-reynolds-ends-ifss-wch-alaska-2013&Itemid=671 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=471:arleigh-reynolds-ends-ifss-wch-alaska-2013&Itemid=671

2013 GCI Open North American Champion

Salcha's Arleigh Reynolds takes the win in this year's Open North American Championship / IFSS Open World Championship.

Just fresh off a Fur Rondy victory, Arleigh fought off stiff competition to take the Gold Medal, at the last race of the IFSS Winter World Championships..

For some great coverage of the race and comments from Arleigh and fellow competitor Greg Selletin, read Bob Eley’s report below..


FAIRBANKS — Arleigh Reynolds is exactly where he needs to be with one day left in the 68th running of the GCI Open North American Championship sled dog race.

Reynolds posted the fastest time for the second straight day on Saturday and increased his lead to almost a minute over Ken Chezik and two minutes over Egil Ellis on another beautiful day for racing in the Golden Heart City.

Reynolds said his team is poised to give the Salcha veterinarian his first victory in the Open North American in today’s final 26.9-mile heat, starting at 1 p.m. today on Second Avenue in downtown Fairbanks between Cushman and Lacey streets.

“Oh yeah,” Reynolds said when asked if his team had enough stamina to handle the extra distance in today’s final heat. “I didn’t push them at all today.”

Mushers raced about 20 miles the first two days, but today they take what is called the “extension,” which stretches the distance for about another 7 miles or so.

Mushers start in reverse order today with the last-place team going out first and the first-place team going out last. That creates several passing situations as the faster teams overtake the slower teams.

Ellis, a 12-time winner of the race and six-time defending champion who is known for his Sunday comebacks, said it would be hard to catch Reynolds today.

“Arleigh showed he had a strong team in Anchorage at the Rondy, so there’s no reason to worry about him,” Reynolds said. “My sights are set on Kenny and trying to get second place.”

Chezik is 58 seconds behind Reynolds. After finishing just 6.5 seconds behind Reynolds, Chezik dropped more than 50 seconds off the pace in Saturday’s second heat.

“I’d have to work real hard (today) and then get a whole lot of luck,” Chezik said when asked if he could catch Reynolds. “Unless the guy who comes from behind does something remarkable, Arleigh is going to be tough to beat.”

Reynolds covered Saturday’s 20 miles in 61 minute, 46.9 seconds, just 16 seconds slower than Friday’s opening heat.

“The dogs ran exactly the way I wanted them to today,” he said. “We went in with a plan and they executed it perfectly.”

Most of the other top contenders were more than a minute or so off their Friday pace.

Reynolds said the trail was lightning fast.

“The waxing from Goldstream Sports was perfect and it was hard holding corners because the trail was so fast,” he said.

Reynolds was the first team out on the trail and didn’t have any problem being the first to return.

“It was nice to be able to be by myself,” he said. “It was just a wonderful day.”

Chezik and Ellis were posting some of the top times of the day early on, but both had to nurse teams home in the final stretches of the race.

“At about Mile 16, I had one run out of gas and had to nurse him home,” Chezik said. “I didn’t need to haul him in the basket, but he wasn’t pulling hard on the line.”

“I had a couple tired coming home, but we still managed to come in at 18 mph or so,” said Ellis, whose teams usually come in faster on the second half of their run than they do on the outbound trail.

Ellis still moved past Greg Sellentin into third place going into today’s final heat.

“I thought the trail was a little softer today, but we had a good wax job from Goldstream Sports and the dogs worked hard and got us around,” Sellentin said.

Sellentin said he wasn’t surprised to be hanging with the big boys in fourth place. He’s 39 seconds behind Ellis and about 1:20 ahead of Alberta’s Mark Hartum.

“When we started I figured we had a fighting chance for fourth place,” Sellentin said. “This team is well conditioned. The dogs are very tough and even if they’re tired they keep running.

For more reports from Bob Eley go to

Also, go to for lots of media coverage, videos etc on the race.

Photo credit to Casey Thompson Photography.

]]> (IFSS Admin) North America Mon, 18 Mar 2013 18:09:07 +0000
Belarus becomes latest National member of IFSS index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=462:belarus-becomes-latest-national-member-of-ifss&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=462:belarus-becomes-latest-national-member-of-ifss&Itemid=670

 Belarus becomes latest new member of the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS) ..

The Nordic Sleddog Club (NSC) is now an affiliated member of the IFSS, and is recognised of the National IFSS member of Belarus.

The « Nordic Sleddog Club » (NSC) is a non-governmental organization which was formed in 2011. The committee of the NSC is chaired by Olga Vedeneeva. It groups together about 15 sleddog competitors around the country.

On the 27 of January  2013 International sleddog races were hosted by the NSC in the suburbs of Minsk, with nearly 120 participants from neighbouring countries. .and with a racing prize fund with assistance from sponsors and other outside funding of not less than 10000000 Belorussian roubles.

The club has organized for the past two years a race in suburbs of the city of Minsk, the Zavinskha race, with competitors from other countries, including Russia, Latvia and Lithuania..

Pictured is a competitor at the NSC races in Minsk, Belarus, on 27th January 2013.


]]> (IFSS Admin) Europe Mon, 04 Mar 2013 15:06:17 +0000
Lena Boysen Hillestad - Top of the World! index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=461:lena-boysen-hillestad-top-of-the-world&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=461:lena-boysen-hillestad-top-of-the-world&Itemid=670
Lena Boysen Hillestad is truly an inspiration to all women in Sport.. Lena has won the 4 dog class at the IFSS Winter World Championships in Alaska 2013. Lena, from Norway, has claimed the title of World champion no less than 19 times. This is an amazing achievement by any standards. After the race, Lena had a few words to say, exclusively to the IFSS admin team about her race, her dogs and her training:
'My team was doing great, all 4. I was afraid the distance would be a little too long for my 50% greysther. I'm very disappointed because the invitation sais 5 miles (8km), but it is 5,7 miles (9,12 km). (I have another dog home, more suitable). I'm very proud of all 4, but especeally of Buff (50%). Pulka in lead is 1,5 years old and really good. Then it is the brothers Gullgutten and Turboprinsen. Both very good. This was my 19 world championship gold medal, but it is 10 years since I won on snowI am proud and happy ! Hoping for the best at the mass start. But everyone can win these races. I have never got a international medal in mass start, so that is my goal. It will be fun
I breed all my dogs my selves. I train much and hard, but with much fun and love. I hardly never train with sled, but longer distance in skijoring 2 dog (and 1 dog, and free running). Much slow and hard training in the fall...

Quentin Soulier from France took second place in the 4 dog class, and Amy Cooper from the USA took third place.

Photo by Casey Thompson Photography.
]]> (IFSS Admin) Europe Sun, 03 Mar 2013 22:48:03 +0000
IFSS takes Cover in Sports Events Magazine index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=455:ifss-takes-cover-in-sports-events-magazine&Itemid=672 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=455:ifss-takes-cover-in-sports-events-magazine&Itemid=672 IFSS takes Cover in Sports Events Magazine

Innovate, invigorate, rejuvenate: These are the words used when Sports Events Magazine published an article on the IFSS in their January issue of their monthly publication.. Describing how the IFSS has opted to take participants ‘out of their element’ in introducing new ways to participate in Sleddog Sports, the article includes quotes from IFSS Executive Director Bernard Pepin, and imput from Kelly Mann, President/CEO of the BC Games, and Don Ruedlinger, President of Youth Basketball in America.. The article discusses the IFSS’ ability to adapt to the demands of athletes and the needs of spectators in order to keep the sport interesting..

]]> (IFSS Admin) South America Sun, 17 Feb 2013 18:28:10 +0000
Latvian Winter Championships 2013 Results index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=450:latvian-winter-championships-2013-results&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=450:latvian-winter-championships-2013-results&Itemid=670
On the  9th of February, 2013  the Latvian Winter Championships and Baltic Winter Cup were held in Turbas near Ogre, Latvia.
The event was organized under the  IFSS rules. The categories were : 1 dog ski-joring , two dog sled (sleigh must be equipped with brakes)  , 4 dog sled (sleigh must be equipped with brakes and anchor)  ,6 dog sled (sleigh must be equipped with brakes and 2 anchor)  and Minipulings - dogs that pulled above and below 22 kg weight . The winner in the 2 dogs sled Nordic Class was DomantasGirskis from Latvia . 2nd placed AinarsAkmeņkalns (LT) and 3rd Kart Oun (Estonia). In the 2 dogs sled Open Dominyka Buteikyte won in front of Kestutis Soltonas and Martynas Rutkus. In the 4 dogs sled Nordic Class TadasDovidas was 1st , Renaldas Bieliauskas 2nd and Eurika Andziulaitienė 3rd. In the 4 dogs team Open Class the winner was Indre Daujotiene , 2nd Liene  Ļeonova and 3rd Cezarius Boim. In the 6 dogs sled Nordic Class ArnoldasAkelaitis was 1st , Raitis Šmits 2nd and Ilze Slava. In the 6 dog sled Open Class there was only 1 competitor EduardsGrobiņš . In the Skijoring the winner in the Nordic Class Man class was Mārtiņš Kristons 1st and 2nd , Palius Kurlavičius was 3rd. In the Skijoring Nordic Woman Class Sanita Vīksne won in front of Janne Bergmann and Liane Lubi. In the skijoring Open Man class TomasNaruškevič was 1st and 2nd , Ēriks  Mikštas was 3rd. In the Skijoring Open Woman Class SigneTurauska won  , Elizabete Fokrota was 2nd and Anita Reine 3rd.

Please click on the link below for the full results of the Baltic Winter Cup 2013
]]> (IFSS Admin) Europe Wed, 13 Feb 2013 12:26:25 +0000
Swedish Sleddog Championships index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=438:swedish-sleddog-championships&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=438:swedish-sleddog-championships&Itemid=670
The Swedish Sleddog Racing Championships took place on the 24/25 of January 2013..For extensive TV coverage of the two day event you can go to;
Also, for further information on the Swedish Championships you can visit the website at:
]]> (IFSS Admin) Europe Mon, 28 Jan 2013 16:32:34 +0000
2013 Scandinavian Open Championships index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=433:2013-scandinavian-open-championships&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=433:2013-scandinavian-open-championships&Itemid=670 Finland will host the Scandinavian Open Championships in the spring 2013. Races are divided into two different weekends and three different places. The first is long distance in the mid February. Distance is 300km and place is Lieksa.  In the early March is sprint and middle distance SOC at Rautavaara. At the same weekend is the skidogs SOC in Oulu. For more information go to:

]]> (IFSS Admin) Europe Sat, 19 Jan 2013 10:59:23 +0000
BSSF becomes new member of IFSS index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=421:bssf-becomes-new-member-of-ifss&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=421:bssf-becomes-new-member-of-ifss&Itemid=670
The IFSS Council is happy to inform you that the Provisional Membership of the BSSF has been approved by the Council.
We wish you success in the development of your organization and the merge with the SDAS, and eventually other UK organizations, to form a true UK federation in the near future.
Your organization is represented within the IFSS Council by the IFSS Continental Director for Europe, Lars Svanfeldt (
Should you need information or have questions do not hesitate to contact the Executive Director ( or any of the Council members as appropriate. The list of email addresses is available on the IFSS website

]]> (IFSS Admin) Europe Tue, 15 Jan 2013 22:57:48 +0000
South Americans Gear up for Intercontinental Championships index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=413:south-americans-gear-up-for-intercontinental-championships&Itemid=672 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=413:south-americans-gear-up-for-intercontinental-championships&Itemid=672 Buenos Aires, Argentina – Antonio Ocanto, president of the Argentina Club Amigos de los Perros de Trineo, is pleased to announce that the 2009 Intercontinental Championships of South America will be held for eight days from August 28th through September 4th, jointly hosted by the Mushing Club Mendoza and the Association Unidos para la Protección Animal General Alvear (AUPPAGA – the United Association for the Protection of Animals - General Alvear). Given the vast differences in elevations and weather conditions in Argentina, both dryland and snow events are able to run within the same time frame and minimal distances apart.

First to occur will be the Dryland events, which will be held in Argentina’s central province of Mendoza in the city of General Alvear. Mendoza is a vast territory dominated by arid pampas plains, and General Alvear sits east of the Andean foothills at an elevation of 600 meters. This southern area of Mendoza’s province is blessed with an oasis, thanks to the Diamante and Atuel Rivers. With a temperate climate, it is known for its wine and cattle, boasting some of the best wines and barbequed ribs anywhere.

The Dryland events will take place on a fruit and vineyard plantation, the property of important wine cellars in Argentina. Opening ceremonies will occur on Friday evening, August 28th with dryland events occupying the next four days from August 29th through the the 30th.

From General Alvear west to Mendoza’s city of Malargüe, the site of the opening of the snow ceremonies on Monday evening, August 31st, it is a distance of 355 kilometers. Malargüe is a place of mountains, 1460 meters above sea level. From Malargüe competitors transfer to Las Leñas, a distance of 77 kilometers along a mountain path to begin the competition in the sprint 4-dog and skijoring classes on Tuesday, September 1st. Las Leñas is at 2000 meters’ elevation and is a renowned winter sports center in South America. These three-day snow competitions will be held at various sites at the Las Leñas sports complex.

Competitions end on Thursday, September 3rd, with the awards presentations and a dinner banquet. Special awards will be given for fair play, animal care, and handler, with the title of Sudamerican Champion going to the winners in each class. On Friday, September 4th, everyone returns to General Alvear for the closing ceremony capped with lunch and farewells.]]> (IFSS Team) South America Wed, 13 May 2009 00:00:00 +0000
Major Sled Dog Organizations to Hold Unification Talks in Sweden index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=406:major-sled-dog-organizations-to-hold-unification-talks-in-sweden&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=406:major-sled-dog-organizations-to-hold-unification-talks-in-sweden&Itemid=670 Borlänge, Sweden, September 29, 2009 – Kiruna, Sweden, in the latitudes of northern Sweden, will play host to talks between the major international organizations in sled dog sports. Bengt Pontén, President of the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS), Lars Svanfeldt, President of the European Sled Dog Racing Association (ESDRA), and Dave Steele, Executive Director of the International Sled Dog Racing Association (ISDRA), will meet together the weekend of 2-4 October in Kiruna to discuss aspects of the unification process proposed by the major players in the sport.

The process, outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and signed by the organizations in late 2008, has as its goal the merger into one international governing organization for sled dog sports to better serve the sled dog community worldwide. Although the process involves many steps and is due to take a few years until completion, the parties involved are optimistic that a positive result can eventually come. Commented IFSS President Pontén: “Each organization brings strong accomplishments and has contributed in a major way to the development of the sport, but it is time to come together into one worldwide organization that will better advance the whole sport and diffuse the current rifts that exist.”

Already each organization has completed an analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – SWOT) and a tentative model of what a bona fide international organization could look like. However, there is still much work to be done. After the organizations’ leaders reach tentative agreement on a structure, there will follow a period of public comment before final approval can be made.]]>
Europe Wed, 30 Sep 2009 00:00:00 +0000
IFSS Holds Successful Events in Ireland index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=396:ifss-holds-successful-events-in-ireland&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=396:ifss-holds-successful-events-in-ireland&Itemid=670 Ashford, County Wicklow, Ireland, 28 September, 2010 – “Ceád Mile Fáilte” (Irish for a hundred thousand welcomes) sums up the excitement and hospitality generated during the IFSS (International Federation of Sleddog Sports) events in Ashford, County Wicklow, Ireland, the last week in September. The Belair Hotel and Equestrian Center was the meeting site, and some of the attendees took advantage of the horseback riding opportunities. The Belair is a beautiful, old (built in1750) estate that has been refurbished to accommodate equestrian guests and host events such as the IFSS General Assembly. It was the highlight of the weeklong events, capped by a truly Irish gala banquet on Saturday evening, which featured traditional Irish music and dancing.

A race judges’ seminar, given by IFSS Vice President for Sport, Bernard Pépin of France, launched the events. Approximately twenty people took part. It was followed by a Council meeting on Friday afternoon. A visit to the ghostly and historically infamous Wicklow Goal (jail) in Wicklow Town concluded the evening. No one was formally arrested by the actors of the Gaol, but Oceania Director Anne McIntyre from Australia was allegedly taken into bondage to face deportation to Australia on the notorious convict ship, HMS Hercules.

Over the weekend IFSS member federations gathered for the IFSS General Assembly. At the opening it was gladly noted that the number of delegates and observers present at the GA was many times more than usual! Unification talks with the disparate sled dog organizations was a major topic of conversation. Dave Steele, executive director of ISDRA (International Sled Dog Racing Association) gave a presentation to the Assembly, advocating a restructuring of the World Cup in North America to utilize the best of ISDRA’s and IFSS’s attributes merged into one plan. Lars Svanfeldt, president of ESDRA (European Sled Dog Racing Association) indicated that his organization has taken steps to unify, streamlining the race rules and reducing its administration. Discussions have also started with FISTC (Federation Internationale Sportive de Traineau a Chiens), WSA (World Sleddog Association) and, IFSS anticipates such will be under way with ECF (European Canicross Federation).

Latvia was voted as a new Voting Member of IFSS, after a presentation by Girts Eldmanis of the rapid and stellar development of the sport in his country. Representatives from Norway’s 2011 World Championship Committee gave an update of the events and program scheduled for February and March, 2011. Germany and Italy presented their bids for a 2011 Dryland World Championship (WCh). The Council subsequently accepted Germany’s bid to hold the Dryland WCh in November, 2011, in Borken, Germany. The exact date is yet to be determined.

Development was an issue of much discussion – how best to outreach to such areas as the Asian and South American federations, in particular. Concern regarding the relation of development and IOC (International Olympic Committee) recognition was discussed. IFSS approved the formation of a new committee, the Sport Recognition Committee, to further IOC recognition. It will also address other recognition issues of IFSS applicants and members. Vice President Max Vidal will chair the committee, which is a rebirth of the old Olympic Committee, originally chaired by Bob Levorsen (USA).

In other decisions, the General Assembly elected essentially the same people to the Council. However, Arild Eisdvold is now the Vice President for Development rather than the Regional Director for Scandinavia. The Scandinavian regional director’s position is currently vacant pending completion of additional election procedures. Also, the positions of the Regional Directors of Asia and South America are vacant since there are no countries in good standing in these regions.

Carin Ahlstedt (Sweden), IFSS chairperson of the Anti-Doping Committee, gave a two-day training session on canine doping control procedures. Nicola Hampson provided an excellent and humorous role-play of a musher having her dog tested to give attendees a chance to fine-tune their learning.

IFSS is most grateful to Mandy and David Hynes and Nicola Hampson as well as their fellow members of Sleddogs Ireland for rolling out the red carpet for everyone. A relaxing, fun, and productive time was had by all. The site was gorgeous, the food super, and the hospitality and good cheer – after all, Ireland was celebrating 250 years of Arthur Guinness beer – were indicative of the Irish tradition of warm welcomes.]]>
Europe Mon, 08 Nov 2010 00:00:00 +0000
Nordic dogsledding in Scandinavia index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=369:nordic-dogsledding-in-scandinavia&Itemid=670 index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=369:nordic-dogsledding-in-scandinavia&Itemid=670

The Nordic dog sledding style evolved during the past 100 years and its development was due to a series of events. Sources of inspiration were Scandinavian polar explorers like the Norwegian, Fridtjof Nansen (Nobel Peace Prizewinner in 1922), who crossed Greenland on a sled expedition in 1888 and Roald Amundsen, also Norwegian, who reached the South Pole with dogs pulling sleds in 1911-1912.

Amundsen's South Pole expedition became not only an exploration for scientific research; but it also turned into a race against the Englishman, Robert Falcon Scott, to be the first to reach the Pole. The dogs and Amundsen won, the horses and Scott lost. Many maintain that Scott's choice of horses to pull the heavy loads under such extreme conditions was one of the reasons why he did not make the return journey. Amundsen's lead dog, Obersten ("the Colonel") was the first to reach the Pole.

The Dane, Knud Rasmussen's, crossing of Greenland in 1912 with dog sleds was somewhat overshadowed by Amundsen's South Pole expedition. His route was, however, twice as long as Nansen's sled expedition 24 years previously.

Skiing was practiced already in the Bronze Age. Rock engravings of skiers have been found on R?d?y in Nordland, Norway, dating back to 2000 BC.

The Nordic dog sledding style evolved during the past 100 years and its development was due to a series of events. Sources of inspiration were Scandinavian polar explorers like the Norwegian, Fridtjof Nansen (Nobel Peace Prizewinner in 1922), who crossed Greenland on a sled expedition in 1888 and Roald Amundsen, also Norwegian, who reached the South Pole with dogs pulling sleds in 1911-1912.

Amundsen's South Pole expedition became not only an exploration for scientific research; but it also turned into a race against the Englishman, Robert Falcon Scott, to be the first to reach the Pole. The dogs and Amundsen won, the horses and Scott lost. Many maintain that Scott's choice of horses to pull the heavy loads under such extreme conditions was one of the reasons why he did not make the return journey. Amundsen's lead dog, Obersten ("the Colonel") was the first to reach the Pole.

The Dane, Knud Rasmussen's, crossing of Greenland in 1912 with dog sleds was somewhat overshadowed by Amundsen's South Pole expedition. His route was, however, twice as long as Nansen's sled expedition 24 years previously.

Skiing was practiced already in the Bronze Age. Rock engravings of skiers have been found on R?d?y in Nordland, Norway, dating back to 2000 BC.

The modern cross-country skiing sport started in Morgedal in Telemark, Norway. Cross-country skiing is and has always been Norway's national sport. When dog sledding started up, it was natural to follow the dog team on skis. It was easier to keep the dogs in place with a shaft and line. The dogs could not run freely on a line like in Greenland and North America because of the narrow trails often winding through dense woodland. Thus the Nordic dog sledding style was created.

It started with tour trekking. The tours took place in woods and fields, in the mountains and the mountain plateaux. People went into the country and mountains with their dogs to experience and enjoy nature. It gave a sense of well-being to body and mind to see their dogs working before the sled and pulka and, at the end of the day, to watch them curl up together in a hollow in the snow or fall asleep, grunting and satisfied, in front of a crackling black stove.

Well-known mushers who became examples to follow after 1920 were Leonard Seppala and Helge Ingstad. Thor Heyerdal was also an active musher for a period.

The first Norwegian sled dog club was established in 1931. During the following 10 years more than 10 clubs were founded. It was not just the skiing sport that influenced dog sledding. Humanitarian organizations and the military also contributed to make dog sledding become a versatile sport. The founders of the first sled dog clubs were not only concerned with their own self-interest and pleasure in dog sledding. They also engaged themselves in dog sled ambulance service in the heavily trafficked areas of the woodlands and mountains in cooperation with humanitarian organizations. Next to tour sledding, ambulance service was the most important form of dog sledding. Ambulance sleds required 3-4 dogs and many unfortunate skiers have been transported on a dog sled ambulance.

In 1951 all the sled dog clubs were organized under the newly founded Norwegian Sled Dog Association. Five years later in 1956 the Norwegian Sled Dog Racing Association was unanimously elected as a distinctive association within the Norwegian Confederation of Sports. From then on, all sled dog clubs were associated to the Norwegian Sled Dog Racing Association athletics team and sled dog clubs are today placed under Norway's largest organization with over 1.6 million members. The Association is also affiliated to the Norwegian Olympic Committee.

Since 1950 competitions in Nordic dog sledding have been held. During the first years the sleds were very heavy and the trails long. Tests in skills were also included for mushing technique, theoretical first aid and, in some instances, rifle shooting.

During this 50-year period the sport has developed in step with all other sports. Trails are better prepared, weights are lighter and the basic training has greatly improved both for dog and runner. Increased and more correct training, improved knowledge about dogs and their training, as well as improved equipment all contribute to faster speeds being run than ever before.

In recent years the Nordic mushing style has also been influenced by European and American trends. Through cooperation in international organizations such as ESDRA and IFSS, mushing rules and classes have been developed that should satisfy anyone who wants to combine the unique sport of dog sledding with skiing.

There are offers today for people of all ages with one dog or up to four. One can practice skikjoring or mushing with sled or pulka. There are classes for all levels, from just keeping fit activity to elite performance. The Nordic style is the easiest accessible manner of winter dog sledding.

Europe Thu, 06 Dec 2012 23:42:19 +0000