The Race Trails

By: Jerry Bath

Different trails for different race styles,venues,terrain and regions can vary greatly. However here in Wyoming at the Stage Stop this is what we use. Sure we could put in some bush type trails as we do have the terrain for it but why “not” use what you have.

Pedigree Stage Stop trail Boss: Matt Redwine is our go to guy everyday weather its routine or when the going gets tough. He has the responsibility to change unforeseen circumstances in a moment’s notice with the dogs safety always coming first.

Matt starts early when the first snow starts to fly going through the normal preparations for backcountry travel. Cold weather gear, survival gear, mapping and planning. Every year subtle changes come through the Race Directors office for the selection of this years course.

With the new 8 dog Eukanuba Classic being a 3 day race course he looks for the right trails and mileage to provide a fun, challenging course. His year we are really changing things up with the finish in Teton County. Before anything can come to fruition all the snowmobiles, trailers, markers, signs, snow fencing, drift buster and groomer all need to be checked out and in top working order. While the Wyoming State Trail Groomers have the lion’s share of the work Matt tries to keep an eye on every mile of the course. This keeps him aware of critical information and helps him prioritize his schedule weeks before the race. Matt sets the turnarounds on the out and back courses well ahead of race day and often gets assistance from the Wyoming State Trails with these and other potential hazards. For example 90 degree corners can be rounded out if the terrain permits. Trailheads and parking lots are on his to do list as well. They can make or break any race day. Does the plow operator know to leave a bit of snow in the lot? Or make a new approach ramp that’s more suitable for a dog team. A lot goes on that is not recognized unless it goes south. So from the holiday break forward Matt’s days are spent in the Wyoming Back country. I Just can’t say enough about Matt and what he does to ensure we all have a safe and challenging course day after day. My hats off to him.

I am very fortunate to know a lot of the folks that make the Wyoming State Trails system work. These people take real pride in there job. We are truly blessed to have the trail system that we do with 1,903 miles of groomed trails and 670 miles of ungroomed trails. Not including the millions of acres of off trail riding. That’s over 72,000 miles of trail grooming a year with almost 34,000 snowmobile permits sold in addition to $1.1 million of the permit revenue spent on grooming alone.

All this helps the 23rd running of the Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race be a huge success.