Sandpoint musher takes 3rd in Idaho Sled Dog Challenge

CASCADE, Idaho — A Sandpoint man took home third in one of the country’s hardest sled dog races.

The Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is what many mushers claim to be the toughest Iditarod and Yukon Quest qualifier. The event began on Jan. 31 and ended on Thursday. They hold a 100-mile and 300-mile race, both with rough terrains and steep slopes throughout.

Jed Stephensen from Sandpoint placed third in the 300-mile race, finishing in 71 hours and 33 minutes. Scott White from Snohomish finished second in the 100-mile race, while Nicole Lombardi from Lincoln, Montana, won with an average speed of 9.57 mph.

Stephenson looks to participate in the Iditarod in Alaska. Many mushers believe the ISDC is much harder than other renowned dog sled races since there are many more hills than the other courses.

“Our elevation change is 36,000 feet, which is greater than the Iditarod,” said ISDC co-founder Dave Looney. “They call it a 500-mile race packed into 300 miles. One musher said the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is like climbing Mt. Everest — twice.”

The next Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is scheduled for Jan. 29-Feb. 2, 2023.

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