The Canadian Challenge: The Cutest Race You’ve Ever Seen

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Last week, I embarked on my first extended stretch outside of the greater Regina area. The lead up to this expedition was equal parts thrilling and anxiety-inducing. With my post-secondary studies and subsequent work taking me outside of the province, it’s been nearly a decade since I’ve experienced Saskatchewan outside the comfort-bubble of my hometown. This was my first solid attempt at reacquainting myself with my home province. Mother nature has also thrown a rather heavy-duty wrench into the mix with this record-breaking cold snap. I had concerns about my camera gear withstanding the conditions, which stemmed into similar concerns about my travel companion, Stedman (my 10lb Brussels Griffon Dog). With that, I ultimately decided to leave him with my parents, making this a solo mission.

 

Given this recent separation, my first stop on this tour should come as no surprise. I zipped over to the beautiful Elk Ridge Resort located just outside of Prince Albert National Park where there was plenty of four-legged friends to be made. Why? Because Elk Ridge Resort is the starting point for the world-renowned Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race.

The Canadian Challenge is a 12 dog continuous mid-distance race which follows a traditional trajectory similar to that of trappers, North West Mounted Police, and the First Nations community. This trail stretches from Prince Albert National Park all the way to La Ronge (Approx. 600km round-trip). The Canadian Challenge has garnered universal recognition as a world-class sporting event and is Canada’s longest sled-dog race that both starts and finishes within the confines of the country.

 

While hundreds of spectators were shivering on the sidelines, the racers boasted that it was near-perfect conditions for a race of this nature. The cold weather results in an ice-packed trail which is an ideal running surface for the dogs.

 

The Canadian Challenge was one heck of a way to kick off this week-long tour of the Prince Albert area. It introduced me to Elk Ridge Resort (a must-see), the ins-and-outs of traditional sled dog racing and hundreds of furry buddies who are as lovable as they are speedy.

 

To learn more about the Canadian Challenge go to:

http://canadianchallenge.com/

 

To learn more about Elk Ridge Resort go to:

https://www.elkridgeresort.com/