Sled Dog Races Headed For Schroon Lake?

Photo Courtesy Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club

Schroon Lake could soon be hosting its first ever dog sled race weekend, with the potential to bring dozens of dogs, hundreds of competitors and visitors, and thousands of dollars to the local economy.

Details of the event were presented to the Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday by John Huston, who heads a committee of seven locals, who are working with the Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club, to bring the event to Schroon.

At the meeting, Huston said that the Sled Dog Club was looking for a new venue to hold their annual event, after years of staging it in Massena. A second home-owner who has a camp here, suggested Schroon Lake to his son-in-law (a sled dog club member) when he learned the club was looking to move the event.

The tentative schedule for the race weekend would run Friday night, February, 10, through to Sunday afternoon, February 12.

The races would be held on existing sections of the Schroon’s vast snowmobile trails, with the course passing by several road crossings to maximize the number of areas for spectators to view the races.

“We want people to be able to participate and view the races,” Huston said.

The Town Golf Course could be used as a staging area for the event, including the start and finish lines, and would provide a  large area for spectators.

Despite multiple races being held over the two days, Huston said the snowmobile course would be open to snowmobilers at the end of each day, which typically ends mid-afternoon.  He said he has received a positive response from the Schroon North Hudson Snow Mobile Club.

In order for Schroon to host the event, race organizers need a 6 to 8-foot wide groomed trail, approximately 6 to 8 miles long to stage their races.

An official from the Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club will be in Schroon on September 8, to inspect the proposed course and make a decision if Schroon gets the green light.

The Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club is one of the most prestigious clubs in the US. Founded in 1971, the club has members in several Canadian provinces, New York, Virginia, Michigan, Maryland New Jersey and Connecticut.

Huston hopes the event would be co-sponsored by the Town of Schroon and The Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce, as well as be supported by both national and area businesses.

“We need to raise $3,500 worth of prize money. We hope to do this with corporate sponsors, as well as have local businesses contribute,” Huston told the meeting.

“I am told that the more prize money that is raised, there’s potential to have more competitors.”

A purse of around $3,500 typically attracts around 50 mushers. With those 50 mushers come their entourages, which are around 100 people. The races have a large spectator following, which could bring many more folks to Schroon, Huston said.

Huston told the meeting that race participants prefer to stay in motels, so they can have can have easy access to the dogs.

Council member Roger Friedman told the meeting that the motel rooms the racers need are easily available within a 30-minute drive from Schroon.

Besides providing the course, Huston said organizers would need a PA system, a staging area for racers, a shelter for the timing crew and volunteers.

“There will be no out of pocket expenses for the town,” Huston said. 

What do you think about the potential for Schroon to host this event? Tell us in comments.