12 Aug Grand Odyssey Dog Sleigh Race Avoriaz
Between 9th – 18th January 2010 seven villages in Haute Maurienne Vanoise will host the sixth year of the Grand Odyssey Dog Sleigh Race, or La Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc as it’s known locally. It is the toughest international dog-sled race in the world and contested by 35 teams with approximately 350 dogs between them over 10 stages. The dogs are primarily Alaskan, Husky and Siberian Husky and must race approximately 500 miles, including 25000m of ascent and descent.
The race originated in 1998 when two men, Henry Kam – a supporter of nature-adventure sporting events, and Nicolas Vanier – who was preparing to cross Canada with his dogs, became friends. They realised that no epic dog sled races existed in Europe and decided to create the epitome of dog sled races. On January 7th 2005 the first official event began in Avoriaz. The beauty of the event primarily lies in its link with nature. It encourages the discovery of the mountain in a gentle way using an advanced understanding of and harmony with the dogs.
It also begets courage and a respect for the environment. These factors, coupled with the relatively low impact it has on the terrain (it only leaves temporary footprints in the snow) have helped launch many environmental campaigns and promote ecological awareness. Avoriaz has a history steeped in environmental pride, as it was built in the 1960’s with eco concepts at its heart – including eco friendly buildings, being car free and it now contains ‘The Stash’ – Europe’s first eco snowpark. Today the spectacular La Grande Odyssé attracts more than 70,000 spectators.