Dog Sled Races Return to Two-Miles-High
It’ll be another doubleheader in February for dog sled race lovers as the Colorado Mountain Mushers (CMM) retrieves its popular Mt. Massive Mush I & II. On the first and third weekends in February, these fast-paced, team take-ons will be returning to Lake County for some crowd-pleasing, canine competition that leaves everyone howling for more.
Spectators, dog-lovers and competitors are invited to join the fun on Feb 2 – 3 and Feb. 23-24, as CMM transforms America’s highest golf course and the adjacent US Forest Service property into a series of courses that loop and wind through spruce-lined trails which sit in the shadow of Colorado’s two tallest peaks, Mts Elbert and Massive.
Started in 2016, the Mt. Massive Mush expanded quickly to include two weekends of racing. And in its third year expects to host some 30 sleddog teams at each event, according to Bill Bockstiege, CMM Director.
“We will have a number of different categories for racers,” explained Bockstiege. “Sled, skijor, fat-tire bikejor, canicross and novice classes will be offered.” The races will have separate distance races for each category. Sled category includes:
- 1 mile in novice
- 4 mile- 4 dog,
- 6 mile- 6 dog
- 8 to 12 mile- 8 dog teams in the sled category.
In addition, the competitions will include skijor, bikejor, and canicross which will have 1, 2, and 3 dog categories.
Colorado Mountain Mushers has been involved with dog races since 1989, educating people about sled dogs. The club is an offshoot from the Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club and looks to specifically highlight the family aspect of the sport. Every spring CMM holds an annual banquet, then during the summer they do a picnic for everyone to get together and socialize, and in early fall CMM hosts a group camp out at Camp Hale just north of Leadville. The club is very proactive in community outreach ranging from classroom visits at schools to canine community dog fairs.
The club also provides a public voice in relevant legislation that impacts dog sledding in Colorado. They partner with Mush With PRIDE, a coalition that fosters ethical treatment and raising of sled dogs. As they continue to grow they encourage more involvement from communities like Leadville and individuals with similar interests.
If you are interested in competing or volunteering for these races, please contact Bill Bockstiege by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with the Colorado Mountain Mushers on their official Facebook page.
Leadville Loppet Raises Funds for MBT
On Saturday, Feb.16 the Mineral Belt Trail (MBT) Committee will host its 16th Annual Leadville Loppet. This is a cross country skiing race involving 5K, 10K and 22K sprints through the Colorado Mountain College and the Mineral Belt Trail (MBT). Funds derived from the participants’ entry fees are used for the care and maintenance of the MBT.
The Leadville Loppet has two classes: Nordic and freestyle. The race course starts and ends at the base of Dutch Henri Hill off of HWY 24 South of Leadville. From there skiers glide through a rolling, forested network of trails, leading racers on to the MBT, where climbs and descends await. The tracks follow along abandoned rail grades left behind from Leadville’s mining era, offering a passing history lesson to the skinny skiers. It’s a one-of-a-kind course which should be laden (and groomed) with fresh snow.
The Loppet has also been added to the list of American Birkebeiner qualifiers! Skiers will be able to utilize results from either the 22 or 44 km race for improving their wave placement for the Birkie or Korte. More details on that can be found HERE.
Registration is currently open online for classic and freestyle 44K, 22K, & 10K distances, plus a 5K and 1K fun race, where costumes are encouraged! If you plan on joining the fun this year, be sure to register in the next week, as the price goes up February 1.
But whether you are putting in some training laps for the Loppet, or just getting out on the MBT for a Sunday outing, this Leadville Winter Trail offers everything you need to enjoy the colder season at 10,152 feet. It’s also a true testament to the pioneering spirit, honoring the unique mining heritage of the district while providing recreational benefits to the community and its visitors. Make sure it’s on your list of Happy (Winter) Trails in Leadville!