Many snowy paws set to mush on in sled festival at Cardrona Snow Farm

01:43, Jan 31 2009

The hounds are about to take to the snow in the next two months as some of the biggest dog sled races in New Zealand are held at the Snow Farm, Cardrona.

The three main events are the Kirsty Burn Classic (August 30-31), Kirsty Burn (September 1) and the Wanaka Sled Dog Festival (September 2-6).

The Wanaka Sled Dog Festival is run by the Southern Regions Sled Dog Club and club secretary Sarah Campbell, of Dunedin, said 40 entries had been received from throughout the country, which would mean about 180 dogs would descend on Wanaka for the five-day event.

"This would the the second-highest number of entries we have received. What makes the festival different to most races is that competitors get to race on the snow, where most events in the country are in rigs along forest tracks," she said.

Ms Campbell has three arctic breed dogs as well as a puppy, and her partner will be racing in the festival.

"I'd always had a love of the arctic breed and from there started racing, and it is quite addictive.


"As soon as the temperature drops and winter arrives, the dogs do get excited, especially when you get their harnesses out," Ms Campbell said.

As well as siberian and alaskan huskies, alaskan malamutes and samoyeds, people have started racing other breeds like labradors, she said.

"Any medium-sized dog can race," she said.

The festival race is New Zealand's biggest sled dog race and it has five categories: six, four, three, two or single ski-jouring dog teams.

Southern entries in the festival include Alan Raki-Raki (Invercargill), Kim Wilson (Wanaka), Todd Hessey (Wanaka), Marcus Bower (Te Anau), Ineke Findlay (Roxburgh) and Tony Turner (Athol).

The Southland Times