A new sled dog race begins Sunday, Jan. 6, on Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior. The Gichigami Express will include teams from Minnesota, Michigan, Alaska and Canada.
The 180-mile, three-day race begins in Grand Portage in far northeastern Minnesota. More than 20 mushers and their teams of a dozen dogs plan to travel to the Hungry Jack Lodge on the Gunflint Trail, then to Grand Marais and back to Grand Portage on Tuesday, Jan. 8.
Organizer Jack Stone said the race grew out of last winter's Gunflint Mail Run, which was hastily organized after the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon was cancelled for lack of snow. The Beagrease starts and finishes in Duluth, in St. Louis County; Stone said this race is centered in Cook County.
"What we're doing is we're putting the race on where everybody in the community and the county can be involved in one way or the other," Stone said. "And the excitement level, for lack of a better term, has been phenomenal."
Stone said he hopes the race will boost the tourism economy during the typically slow post-holiday season.
"This is a miserable time of the year, right after Christmas up here, and we're trying to attract more people who might not otherwise come up here," he said. "Because we think once they get up here and look around, they'll like it up here and come back in the wintertime."
CORRECTION: This article originally included incorrect dates for the event.
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