Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Race Comes to Jackson Hole
The Jackson Hole area is going to the dogs this weekend. And it’s going to be so “mush” fun!
The annual Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race is truly one of the more unique winter events here in the Tetons and it kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday (Jan. 26th) in Jackson Town Square.
Similar to the Tour de France—and touted by organizers as the only dog sled race event of its kind—it travels through seven different Wyoming towns (and one in Idaho just over Teton Pass from Jackson Hole) each day. It will finish up back here next weekend in Teton County, Wyoming, up at Lower Slide Lake in the Gros Ventre.
The Pedigree Stage Stop Race was launched 23 years ago to showcase the beautiful state of Wyoming and to make sled dog racing more accessible to the public. This year features a dozen professional mushers. These men and women and their bushy- tailed teams of Alaskan Huskies hail from throughout Wyoming and other states in the Northwest, as well as Colorado, Alaska, British Columbia, Canada and Michigan.
A favorite of both locals and visitors, the high-energy event starts at 5 p.m. with fun activities on Town Square; the mushers leave their shoots right there on a snowy-covered Broadway at 6:30 for the 2-mile race, much to the delight of the youngest spectators in the crowd. Heck, much to the delight of all of us in the crowd! It finishes at Snow King Mountain. Following the last mushers’ arrival, you can watch fireworks and a torchlight parade on the mountain at roughly 8:30.
After being out in the cold watching the start of the race you’re going to be hungry, so consider heading just one block up from Town Square to Gather restaurant and belly up to a big fat bowl of their famous Elk Bolognese, which has just been brought back on the ever-changing menu of this popular and highly-rated eatery.
“I took it off the menu for a while, but I will never do that again,” owner Graeme Swain swore to me this morning.
“I was getting death threats if I didn’t put it back on,” he joked. At least I hoped he was joking! I haven’t had the honor of tasting the spicy, elk-y goodness yet, but apparently, the bolognese is just that amazing. People will kill you if they can’t inhale it.
Graeme’s happy to note that it will remain a staple, along with Gather’s other notoriously addictive menu item, their Brussels sprouts (white balsamic vinaigrette, pepitas, dried cranberries, shaved pecorino).
Gather’s daily menu specials are always a surprise (“the chef comes up with them on the fly,” Graeme said) and well worth the reveal from your server.
The welcoming modern yet cozy ambiance of Gather is always ideal no matter what you make as your meal, of course. Bonus points for Friday though: You can see Snow King’s slopes from Gather’s expansive windows, so if you’d rather watch the fireworks following the doggie’s race from there, I’d say “go for it!”
Day 2 of the Pedigree Stage Stop sled race continues Saturday morning (Jan. 27th) in Alpine, just a 40-minute drive south of Jackson Hole on Hwy 89 down the spectacularly scenic Snake River Canyon. The mushers will take off at 9 a.m. at the Greys River Trailhead parking lot for their more than 50-mile race. A warming hut and refreshments will be available.
And if all this Huskies-racing-across-snow stuff gets your heart set on maybe creating your own personal Iditarod experience, consider taking a dog sled tour with one of the experienced outfitters here in Jackson Hole. It’s just one more way to get the absolute most out of your winter visit. Doggone it, you’re worth it.