The Tamworth Sled Dog Race on Chocorua Lake, rescheduled to run this upcoming weekend of March 4th & 5th, has been canceled.
Officials from the Tamworth Outing Club and the New England Sled Dog Club determined that the recent warm temperatures along with a forecast of further warm temperatures and rain would deter suitable conditions for competitive sled dog racing by this upcoming weekend.
The Tamworth Outing Club looks forward to running this historic and scenic sled dog race every year when conditions are favorable.
Plan to come watch 40-50 teams and hundreds of dogs race across Chocorua Lake and through the woods around the lake. Over 500 spectators are typically expected.
Viewers are treated to a day-long New England experience steeped in tradition and heritage. Spectators are welcome to walk, snowshoe or ski onto the ice. Hot chocolate, chili, hamburgers and hot dogs are usually available, and there is often a bonfire where marshmallows are toasted.
The races start along Old Route 16 on the Conservancy’s “Island” area adjacent to Route 16 on the east side of Chocorua Lake, where dozens of dog sled teams and hundreds of dogs will gather all weekend.
Races start at 9am on Saturday and Sunday. The signature “open” class race, in which a driver can run as many dogs as they can hook up, is usually held mid-day.
The Tamworth Outing Club is responsible for marking, grooming and packing the trails. The races are free to all spectators, but the Tamworth Outing Club welcomes donations. The Tamworth Outing Club has been orchestrating the Tamworth Sled Dog Races since 1935.
The race consists of sprint challenges in which the fastest total time of two days of racing heats on a set distance determines the winner. The longest course is usually 10 to 11 miles. Distances and team size vary by class. The adult Unlimited Class can have eight or more dogs on the team while a juniors’ class may consist of just a one-dogger. Each team has a driver who is pulled along behind in a sled. The races include an event added in 2007 called Skijoring, where the dogs pull a cross-country skier.
The New England Sled Dog Club is the oldest continuously run sled dog club in existence. The club got its start in 1924 at the office of Walter Channing and took root under the direction of famed Chinook sled dog racer and breeder Arthur Walden of Wonalancet. The club’s first sled dog race, held in 1925 in Newport, N.H., was won by Hi Mason of Tamworth. The Tamworth Outing Club has been orchestrating the Tamworth Sled Dog Races since 1935.
The first race dogs were commonly
Siberian huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and the Samoyed, but northern hybrids of pointers, setters, dalmatians, coon and fox hounds were also used.
Today, sled dogs tend to be more mixes because mixing breeds strengthens characteristics essential to a team dog. They must have strong backs, straight shoulders, compact tough feet, deep chest, large lungs, a tremendous heart and stamina. Their fur must be protective but not so long it traps snow.
For more information, and the date of the upcoming race, visit the Tamworth Outing Club’s website at http://tamworthoutingclub.org.
For great photos of the dog sled races on Chocorua Lake in January 2014, click HERE.
Typical Daily Schedule (9am-3pm)
7:30am: Registration (drivers will pick up bibs)
8:30am: Drivers meeting
– Skijoring (4 miles)
– 3 Dog Junior (4 miles)
– 4 Dog (4 miles)
After start of Open Class
– 1 Dog Junior (4 miles)
– 8 Dog (8 miles)
– 6 Dog (6 miles)
– Open/Unlimited (10-15 miles)