Dog sled race set to go at the end of January

Anisah Madden
By Anisah Madden
December 20th, 2010

Great scenery, good snow pack (let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…) and lots of good trails inspired the idea of holding a dog sled race across the Boundary. Right now, the Boundary Dog Sled Association (BDSA) is gearing up for what they hope to be a successful dog sled race this coming January. 


Ruth Sims, one of the organizers for the race, said that the decision to hold the Rail Trail 200 in the Boundary came from her involvement with other races. Sims, a Grand Forks resident, was on the veterinarian team for the Yukon races in 2006, and thought it would be fun to bring a race to her home region. She and five other individuals created the BSDA for the sole purpose of managing this event, and began planning for a 2010 race.

After last year’s disappointing weather forced the cancellation of the race, they set their sights on 2011. Sims is optimistic that there will be plenty of snow this year.


There are five teams lined up so far – two from the U.S., two from Alberta, and one from Saskatchewan. Mid-distance dog sled races are quite popular – Elkford, Kimberley and Cealy Lake all have their own races. Teams use an online network to find races they want to participate in.

Sims says it doesn’t take special training to be a musher, “Anybody can do it. If you have some dogs, and you have some time and you have some snow – there’s no specific training – people do it for fun.”


The upcoming race takes place from Jan. 28 – 30.  There are two options for teams to run – a 100 mile race and a 200 mile one both starting at the Station Pub in Grand Forks at 9 a.m. on Jan. 28.


Challenging the skills and stamina of all who take part, teams will sled marked back country trails past Jewel Lake, through the Christian Valley, and up to Big White, passing check points along the way, for safety purposes, and to give spectators a chance to see the teams.


“Every musher has their own racing schedule. A rule of thumb is for every hour that they run they will rest an hour somewhere along the way…it depends on their strategy,” explained Sims.


For those participating in the 100 mile 8 dog race, Big White is the finish line. For teams that are competing in the 200 mile 12 dog race, there is a mandatory six-hour layover in Big White, then the race continues on down the mountain through Beaverdell, Midway and Greenwood, with the final dash to the finish line in Grand Forks. 

The Rail Trail 200 relies entirely on local volunteers and donations from the public – about 40 people are currently helping to prepare for the race packing trails, and marking the trails as the race draws closer. Once the race begins, there will be an official race marshal and official timer.


Sims and Patricia Logan will be the veterinarians for the race. Volunteers will be helping at check points, at highway crossings, and keeping trails clear. Sims is enthusiastic about the support and says that although there are lots of people who have come forward to help out, they could always use more volunteers. She rallies people to come out, have fun, and enjoy what she hopes will be a successful race.


If you’d like to volunteer or donate to the race, email race@railtrail200.com. More information can be found at www.railtrail200.com

Categories: GeneralSports