Bayfield Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Bureau: Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race 2014: Visitors will enjoy sled dog racing and ice caves as part of winter adventure opportunities

Contact: Kelley Linehan
Phone: (800) 447-4094

19th annual Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race kicks off this weekend

Bayfield is preparing to go to the dogs this weekend, Saturday, February 1st and Sunday, February 2nd, during the 19th annual Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race.

“The best thing about a sled dog race is that you can feel the excitement in the air!” says John Thiel of Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing. “The dogs love it, the mushers love it, the volunteers love it and all that energy ignites the crowd.” Thiel has been involved in race operations for 18 years.

Apostle Islands Sled Dog RaceNearly 50 sled dog teams from throughout the Midwest are registered to participate in this year’s race. New for 2014, race officials have made the decision to change the 8-dog race to a 10-dog race, with the intent to make the event even more attractive for mushers and spectators alike. “The addition of two more dogs cranks up the excitement of the team a bit,” explains Thiel, who manages the race course and trail preparation. The 10-dog trail will total 88 miles, with the 6-dog class running approximately 56 miles. Additional races include a 40 mile Sportsmen’s Race, a Family Recreation Run on Saturday and a 16 & under Youth Race on Sunday.

Races begin at 10am on both Saturday and Sunday, with half of the total race distance completed each day. The start/finish line is located 12 miles north of downtown Bayfield at the Echo Valley Gravel Pit on Highway 13 with the course following The Sand River Trail System of Bayfield County. Race trail conditions should be incredible, as the Bayfield area has received over 90″ inches of fresh snow over the last two months, creating the best snow base that the race trail has had in years.

The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race welcomes the public and all ages are encouraged to come experience a bit of the energy that this exciting event exudes. Visitors can mix and mingle with the mushers during Friday evening’s Meet the Mushers spaghetti dinner at the Bayfield Lakeside Pavilion at 6pm or enjoy a Musher Mixer and taco dinner at 5pm on Saturday evening at the Bayfield Inn.

Apostle Islands Sled Dog RaceAt the race site, spectators will enjoy a warming tent with hot food and drinks available for purchase, in addition to Racey’s Tasty Dog Treats (for the four-legged friends at home), and handmade winter outerwear by Wolfsong Wear. Bonfires will be ready to warm chilly toes in between watching the dog teams leave the starting chute. Spectators can also travel to a second check point location for mid-race viewing.

Visitors to Bayfield will also have the opportunity to check the peninsula’s most elusive winter adventures off their bucket lists; the Apostle Islands Ice Caves and the Ice Road to Madeline Island are both accessible at this time. Park service officials report that colder than normal temperatures created an early freeze up of the waters around the islands this year, including the mainland unit of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore “featuring some of the most spectacular cliffs and sea caves found in the Great Lakes.” Park rangers determined on January 15 that ice conditions allow for over-ice travel to these mainland sea caves, marking the first time since 2009 that such access was announced. Visitors can walk, ski, or snowshoe to explore the frozen sea caves and their magnificent ice formations. The trail to the caves can be reached from the end of Meyers Road, which is just a few miles west of the sled dog race start off of State Highway 13. In addition, the Ice Road from Bayfield to Madeline Island is currently open for light vehicle travel. Ongoing updates for these activities, plus snowmobile trail and skiing information, are available online in the Winter Recreation Report at

Race directories with maps will be available at the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau, 42 S. Broad St., and at the race site. A complete Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race event schedule and the 2014 trail map are both available at

The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race committee would like to thank these 2014 sponsors: Master Musher Sponsors; The Bayfield Inn, Heart Graphics and Communications, Howl Clothing and Adventure, Legendary Waters Resort and Casino, National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation, Pinehurst Inn, Printing Plus/Screen Line, Seagull Bay Motel, Silverwaves Jewelry, Stonehouse Photo, and Winfield Inn & Gardens, Trail Support Sponsors; CF Design, Ltd, Northland College, and Xcel Energy, Doggy Biscuit Sponsors;, Northern Lakes Feed Mill, Ole and Lena’s Place, Racey’s Tasty Peanut Butter Dog Bisquits, Redpaw dog food, Sleep Systems International, and Superieur Petrol, and Sled Dog Friends; Apostle Islands Realty and Harbor View Lodging.

For more information about the 19th annual Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race, please contact the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau at (800) 447-4094 or visit the new Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race event page on Facebook.