© Herald file photo
Dogs and their mushers get going at last year‚Äôs Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race, which is set to return to downtown Prince Albert this year.
In a return to form, the 17th Annual Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race is returning to downtown Prince Albert next month.
‚ÄúThe last couple of years there were ice problems,‚ÄĚ spokesperson Bernie Zintel explained. ‚ÄúThe ice was too thin, we just couldn‚Äôt run ‚Ä¶ They‚Äôre out trekking today and it should be OK. We‚Äôre going to make a good of it.
‚ÄúThey go right down central, right across from City Hall ‚Ä¶ I‚Äôm almost positive.‚ÄĚ
The thickness of North Saskatchewan River ice will continue to be measured to ensure conditions remain safe for a downtown sled dog launch.
For the last couple of years, the race has started a few kilometres north of the city, attracting a crowd of little more than 100 people.
In its downtown Prince Albert setting, Zintel anticipates a draw of between 500 and 600.
Between 15 and 20 mushers will begin their 517-kilometre trek on February 18 at noon.
Dogs will race north down Central Avenue from outside of City Hall and then turn east down River Street, turning back north at the boat launch where they will continue on their lengthy journey.
Although often confused with the Prince Albert Winter Festival, which takes place in the same area, at the same time and with smaller sled dog events, Zintel notes that the Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race is its own entity.
The organization‚Äôs website, www.canadianchallenge.com, outlines more specifics.
‚ÄúWe can always use volunteers,‚ÄĚ Zintel said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôll be down in the office most of the time after this week. We‚Äôre right at 1105 Central Ave. They can come fill out a form and we‚Äôll put them to work.‚ÄĚ
The Daily Herald will catch up with the Prince Albert Downtown Improvement District Association before Feb. 18 to let readers know what to expect during the day.
The organization planned on holding a daylong series of events and activities last year, before the event was forced north of the river due to dodgy ice.