DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Plentiful snow in northeastern Minnesota is adding to the excitement as the Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race nears its second running.
It's different than last year's inaugural, when poor conditions sent organizers scrambling to adjust. The Cook County race is due to start in Grand Portage on Jan. 4 and should conclude a few days later, the Duluth News-Tribune reported Monday (http://bit.ly/1bKOsGx ).
The race grew out of a few desires: to boost tourism at a typically slow time of year, to celebrate local history and to create an event that brings together different parts of the county that borders Lake Superior.
Sixteen mushers have signed up and will be chasing a $25,000 purse.
Two Harbors musher Ross Fraboni, who was part of a team that won last year's race, said the route travels along difficult terrain.
"You're going up for a minute, and then down for a minute — constant terrain undulation — and then you hit a lake for five miles."
Mushers start and end in Grand Portage, but make their way along the Gunflint Trail and to Grand Marais over the three days. The winning team will have the fastest cumulative time for set distances over the three days.
Community support has increased now that one year is already in the books, said race board president Jack Stone of Grand Marais.
"Where it's really fallen into place this year is with volunteers," Stone said. "We've had people step up in so many different capacities."
Information from: Duluth News Tribune, http://www.duluthnewstribune.com