World-class mushers, dogs coming to McCall for third-annual Idaho Sled Dog Challenge

Anxious dogs barking and jumping at the head of a sled.
Courtesy of Idaho Sled Dog Challenge

MCCALL, Idaho — The Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is returning to the Inland Northwest late January for the 2020 McCall Winter Carnival.

World-class mushers and determined dogs are flocking to McCall for the 300-mile race, which also serves as a qualifier for larger sled dog competitions like the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. According to one of the principal volunteers, Dave Looney, this race is one of the toughest out there.

“Mushers will tell you this is a very, very atypical race,” Looney said. “Our elevation change is 44,000 feet, which is greater than the Iditarod. They call it a 500-mile race packed into 300 miles. So the dog care and the pacing and the attention they have to pay to the terrain is really important, because there’s a lot of up and down. One musher said the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is like climbing Mt. Everest – twice.”

The Idaho Sled Dog Challenge also offers two different races, too – a 100-mile course for less experienced mushers, and a 37-mile race for kids ages 14-17.

The event starts January 28 and ends with the end of the 300-mile race on February 1.

For more information, visit the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge website here.