A racer in this year's Caledonia Classic Sled Dog Races kicks her way to the finish.

Dog sled races to expand

The 2014 Caledonia Classic Dog Sled Races will take place over two weekends instead of one.

The Caledonia Classic Sled Dog races will expand in 2014.

After receiving feedback from mushers asking for a continuous race as a qualifier for the Yukon Quest, the group decided it was too much for the group for one weekend.

Instead, the group will now be offering races for two consecutive weekends next year instead of just the one.

There will still be the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the usual Caledonia Classic races, with a three-stage 150-mile race starting on Friday, sprint races on Saturday and Sunday and the junior mushers, kid and mutt race and the politician’s race.

The stage race allows mushers to draw from a pool of 12 dogs with 10 mushing at a time.

But there will also be an additional race of the weekend of a seven-dog, 75-mile independent race.

The race will start at 9 a.m. Saturday when the 150-mile stage racers start and will go out via a 50-mile trail to Whitefish Bay, where the teams will camp overnight with their own gear.

They will return the next day via the 25 miles directly across Stuart Lake.

Craig Houghton of the Fort St. James Sled Dog Association said this type of race helps put the sprint teams and the distance teams on a level playing field because they carry their own gear and it requires the mushers to be more athletic.

The following weekend, the group will then host a 200-mile continuous race with a layover in Fort Fraser for six hours. This will allow the dogs to be checked and changed out or dropped if needed.

This race will help mushers to qualify for the Yukon Quest competition, a 1,000-mile international sled dog race from Whitehorse, Yukon to Faribanks, Alaska.

Veteran Fort St. James musher Jerry Joinson completed the Yukon Quest 1,000 in 2011 and will be returning to the race again with his wife Lisa in 2014.