Covering 350 miles through the backcountry of the Blackfoot and Clearwater Valleys, Montana's premier winter sporting event is the Race to the Sky. The race celebrates its 32nd year from February 10-14, 2017. This is one of the most challenging and beautiful sled dog races in the world. It is an unusual test of physical power, mental toughness, teamwork, and the special bond between man and animal.
This family-friendly event is chock full of activities, drawing thousands of spectators and many dozens of volunteers. Race activities and public services are available this year in Helena, Butte, Lincoln, Ovando and Seeley Lake.
Sled dogs are a storied part of Montana traditions. Native Americans hitched up their dogs to help pull travois laden with supplies, while early settlers looked forward to the delivery of mail and supplies by sled dogs. In the early 1940s, the U.S. Army established Camp Rimini War Dog Training Center near Helena in order to prepare for a possible German invasion of northern Europe. Today, sled dogs are used primarily for recreation and competitive races.
Between 20 and 36 dog sled teams participate in this Iditarod-qualifying race.