(Jackson, W.Y.) – The Pedigree® Stage Stop Race, now in its 27th year, kicked off from historic Town Square in downtown Jackson Friday night, as it’s done since 1996.
An enthusiastic and vocal crowd was treated to the dual starts of 24 powerful teams on this near perfect clear, cold Wyoming winter night, and seventeen Junior mushers got the thrill of their young lives riding on the sleds of their competitors, tucked into bags and helmets .
Attendees also got to view the following welcome video:
The next day, Saturday, January 28th, competitors were ready for day one of the “big race”.
Twenty-four powerful teams left the starting line at Blackrock Ranger Station trailhead 8 miles east of Moran Junction.
Blackrock offers a little bit of everything on this scenic 29.7-mile course — ups & downs, twists & turns, switchbacks and a stretch of open country up top.
Cold temperature (-16F at 9 am), almost no wind, and blue skies made ideal conditions for a perfect day of racing.
And, after a four-mile climb of hard fast trail out the chute, all were treated to a breathtaking panoramic view of the Teton Mountains.
All the mushers without exception reported it was a great run for Day One, and the results confirm that this was a very fast course.
Today’s top three competitors shattered last year’s course record held by Éric Laforce.
Anny Malo, last year’s returning Stage Stop champion, set a new course record of 1:49:29.
Éric Laforce was not far behind at 1:52:23 overcoming a wedged snow hook on the hard-packed trail.
Next across the finish line were Diane Marquis, JR Anderson and Alix Crittenden.
After the next leg of the race in Lander was relocated due to subprime trail conditions from lack of snow, Pinedale was picked as the alternate location.
That race started today at 9:00 AM (no results just yet), with a meet and greet scheduled at 4:00 PM at the Dudley Key Sports Complex.
The rest of the race schedule is as follows:
STAGE 3 Monday—January 31st—Big Piney. 9:00 AM RACE STARTS at the Upper Green River Trailhead, Cora at the end of Hwy 352. Kendall Valley Lodge serves Breakfast & Lunch Specials. Located west of the Upper Green Parking Lot. 6:00 PM MEET THE MUSHERS DINNER Marbleton Community Center, 429 2nd Street, Big Piney.
STAGE 4 Tuesday—February 1st—Big Piney/Marbleton. 9:00 AM RACE STARTS at Middle Piney parking lot off road 350, 20 miles from Big Piney.
STAGE 5 Wednesday—February 2nd—Kemmerer. 9:00 AM RACE STARTS at the end of the Hams Fork Road, Hams Fork Trail Head.
Thursday—February 3rd—TRAVEL DAY
STAGE 6 Friday—February 4th—Alpine. 9:00 AM RACE STARTS at Grays River Trail Head Parking Lot.
STAGE 7 Saturday—February 5th—Driggs, Idaho. 9:00 AM RACE STARTS at new location past Kay Dairy Trail Head. Parking at the Start/Finish is limited. Please Plan to Carpool. 1:00 – 3:00 PM COMMUNITY MEET & GREET behind Driggs Community Center in the Transit Center Park & Ride Lot.
Saturday — February 5th — Final Banquet at the Teton County Idaho Fairgrounds 5:00 PM Doors open. Dinner catered by Captain Ron’s BBQ starts at 6:00 PM.