Snow Dogs

Kim Pham Issue: Section:

This competition was part of a round for the European championship in dogsled racing. It took place in a small French village in the Jura, Les Fourgs, right at the border with Switzerland. It was a beautiful day. After weeks of freezing cold, the temperature was mild, the snow fresh and the sun was shining. 1200 dogs were competing, 250 mushers from ten different countries. The carriages had 4, 6, 8 and sometimes 12 dogs from Poland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and France. It was a very popular event, like a party. There was even a circus company, entertaining between the races. Music, food, and dogs barking made the atmosphere quite vibrant and festive.

Surprisingly, the dogs weren't huskies. When I asked a racer, she explained to me that huskies are made for great cold, are very resistant and tough, but are not the fastest. The dogs competing now, for about the last 10 years, are Alaskan dogs, a mixed breed of  German Wirehaired Pointer and greyhound and sometimes husky blood as well. These dogs can be strange looking, some look like a very skinny coyote with a husky tail. But all of them seemed super excited to race. The race was 40 km long. 

In the end, it was a perfect day for both children and grown-ups, in such a beautiful landscape. It was definitely worth going.

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