On January 17-18, the Bitterroot Mushers will hold their 8th annual ‘Darby Dog Derby’ on the Bitterroot and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forests. The races take place on Gibbons Pass Road across Highway 93 from Lost Trail Ski Area. The event is open to the public and provides a great opportunity to see mushers and their well-trained dogs up close and in competition. Races begin at 9:30am on Saturday and teams will compete in multiple competitions including sprint, skijor and long distance races. There is also a ‘Pee Wee’ race for ages 4-12, scheduled Saturdayafternoon (around 12pm) when the other races conclude. Parking may be limited so come early to find a spot or carpool.
Skiers and recreationists should be prepared for additional traffic associated with this event. Snowmobilers are asked to avoid the race route if possible. If that is not possible, snowmobilers are asked to be considerate, travel slowly, and pull off the road as the dogs and drivers travel through. For a complete race schedule and event information visit www.bitterrootmushers.org.
The second event is occurring Saturday, January 17th at Chief Joseph Ski Area. The Bitterroot Cross-Country Ski Club is hosting their annual free ski lesson day. Lessons are for beginners through lower-intermediates of all ages. The traditional classic style of cross-country skiing will be taught. Lessons will last approximately 1-2 hours depending upon the groups and weather. You must bring your own ski gear. Lessons begin at noon and participants are asked to arrive 20 minutes early. Cross-country ski gear is available for rent from local sporting goods stores.
Be sure to dress in layers of warm clothing, including mittens or gloves and hats for the variable weather conditions at the ski area (7,000’ elevation). Don’t forget to bring water and snacks. Chief Joseph Ski Area is located 1 mile east of Lost Trail Pass on Highway 43. The turn-off for parking is marked on the highway.
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