Dogsled race in Ilulissat 14.04.2012
This handful and some are from my first day there, where the local dogsled championship race was held. It's the qualifier for the national championship, and it's a really big thing in Ilulissat. I brought a lens that was a little too wide to properly capture it though, but I'll try to fix it with words.
As you can tell from the photos, there was a lot sleds participating. The rules, as I understood them, are pretty simple. There's a specific route to take. You can use a short sled instead of the normally longer transport sleds. You can have up to 15 dogs in your hitch I believe, and that's pretty much it. A friend of mine from Ilulissat has participated and told me about some of the preparations for the race, which includes training the dogs in interval runs, training them in off-piste racing, giving them treats on the way that they get only when you use a special cry, which makes them connect the cry with an extra treat. This special cry you can then use during the race, to get a bit extra energy from the dogs on the long stretches. A bit like a turbo boost.
The route is somewhere between 30 and 40km, and the dogs run this in less than 2hrs. Because of the weather that day, I didn't go back to see them return, it was very windy, snowing, and cold, but I believe this time they did it in around 1h30mins. Very impressive, considering they were climbing the Akinnaq cliffs with the sled.
The thermometer on the day said -28°c, and for the dogs that's close to perfect conditions for running, these animals are amazing! For the sled drivers, it means they have to wrap up a little warmer (: