Race Rules
Race Rules

Please click here for the 2016 Race Rules in PDF format.


Each driver agrees to hold Voyageurs Classic Sled Dog Race (VCSDR), race sponsor(s) and other contributors (sponsors and contributors of the corporation as distinguished from the sponsors of the individual driver) harmless from any claim or demand based on any alleged action or inaction by the driver, his dogs, agents, or others acting in his/her behalf. The driver also agrees to release Voyageurs Classic Sled Dog Race, sponsors and agents and employees from any claim or demand resulting from injury to the driver, his/her dogs, or his/her property.

Further, drivers shall wear number or bibs at the race start and throughout the event as requested by the VCSDR. Before participating in a Voyageurs Classic Sled Dog Race a driver must be qualified for the event they wish to enter.

A musher must be at least 18 years old unless a waiver is obtained from the VCSDR prior to the event. The Race Marshall has the right to reject or accept any application for a waiver.

Receipt of the entry fee and completed entry form will confirm that the musher intends to enter the event and agrees to comply with all event rules. Upon receipt and acceptance of the fee and entry form, VCSDR will confirm the entry. Bib numbers will be given in order of musher sign up. The Voyageurs Classic Sled Dog Race will provide each driver with an official number to wear or display on his/her sled.

The Voyageurs Classic Sled Dog Race reserves the right to reject any entrant the race committee feels would be a detriment to the race.

Each event will start as scheduled unless a majority of the VCSDR Race Marshall, Race Director, and Musher Representative agrees that conditions warrant a delay. In no case will a race start be delayed more than 24 hours. If a VCSDR event is canceled, then the entry fees for that event will be refunded in full.

Drivers must be prepared to start as scheduled. Any driver who cannot leave as scheduled will be rotated to the end of the starting lineup, but the driver's recorded start time shall remain unchanged.

Upon approval by the Race Marshall, substitution of qualified drivers may be made at the Musher Meeting before the event starts.

The driver starting the event shall drive the team through the entirety of the event.

All winners must attend the awards ceremony to receive their prize/money.


8-dog Pro Class must finish with a minimum of 5 dogs in harness.

Trophy Class teams start with the maximum of 6 dogs and must finish with a minimum of 4 dogs in harness.


Any Veterinarian has the authority to remove any dog from the race that they feel is in the best interest of the dog. This can be done at any time before or during the event. Any dogs that are not in the event but are with the handlers will be marked out before the race.

All dogs must be available for a Vet check before the start of the event.  There are no appointments for vet checks.  Vet checks are provided in a first come, first served basis.

No drugs or other artificial means may be used to drive a dog beyond its natural ability. Before the start of the event, the Chief Veterinarian must be notified of any dog receiving any prescribed medications. Such medications must be entered into the musher's veterinary diary. The following drugs are permitted:

  • Topical medications (except DMSO)
  • Dewormers
  • Antibiotics (except procaine penicillin)
  • Anti-diarrheas (except those with salicylates, e.g., Pepto-Bismol)
  • Estrus suppressants (such as Ova ban or Cheque Drops) without analgesic or stimulative properties
  • Oral food supplements (such as Glycoflex, Cosequin, etc.) with solely nutritive properties

All other drugs are prohibited.

All dogs will be marked before leaving the starting line.


All dogs participating in the Voyageur Classic must undergo a pre-race physical examination by one of the official race veterinarians. Only dogs found to be in good health and fit to compete will be permitted to run in the race. Drivers must provide proof of vaccination at the pre-event examination.

All dogs entered in the event shall have had DAHPiPv (distemper, adenovirus-2, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) vaccinations at least 14 days prior to the event and within the 12 months previous to the end of the event. Owners who vaccinate their own dogs shall submit purchase invoices and organized medical records indicating that each dog has been vaccinated within the prescribed time period.

This race will accept dogs which have been vaccinated within the last three calendar years with a licensed 3-year vaccine against distemper, adenovirus-2, and parvovirus, but only if the vaccine was given by a licensed veterinarian and only if the musher presents documentation signed by that veterinarian. Note that these 3-year vaccines do not protect against parainfluenza. However most annual Bordatella vaccines also protect against parainfluenza. Therefore, mushers choosing to use the 3-year DA2Pv vaccine are very strongly advised to use the annual Bordatella/parainfluenza vaccine as well. Also note that other races may not accept dogs vaccinated with a 3-year product.

Rabies certificates, signed by a licensed Veterinarian or Alaska Lay Vaccinator, must be presented to prove that rabies vaccinations are current. Rabies vaccinations must be given at least 30 days prior to the event. Note that rabies vaccines approved for 3-years’ duration are recognized by this race. Such duration must be valid through the end the race. It is the musher’s responsibility to insure that the rabies certificate is legible and either a NASPHV form #51 or their veterinarian’s own form but which contains all the information listed on a NASPHV form #51. There will be no exceptions made.

Most event-related veterinary expenses are paid by VCSDR. However, drivers are expected to pay extraordinary veterinary expenses they might incur during the event. VCSDR may, at its discretion, charge a driver for any medical supplies administered to a team before the start of the event. Prize moneys will be awarded minus any unpaid veterinary expenses charged to the driver.


The Race Marshall shall resolve disputes among drivers and interpret the event rules in regard to infractions and penalties. It is the spirit of the event that will determine any action needed to resolve any disputes. The Race Marshall also has the authority to establish rules to cover special or unforeseen situations. The Race Marshall has the ultimate authority in all disputes from the start of the race to the finish. Judges that are appointed by the Race Marshall also have the authority to administer any decisions needed to make sure that the rules are followed.

Dogs shall be dropped only at designated checkpoints at any time during the event. The Race Marshall, Judges or Veterinarian can pull any dog from the events after consulting with the musher.


Drivers shall display their identifying bibs throughout the race. At all other times the bibs may either be worn or be displayed prominently on the sled.

All dogs shall be harnessed in single or double file. All harnesses shall be padded around the neck and chest areas. Reflective tape is required on harnesses.

Gang lines may be cable, cable core, or any synthetic or natural material. Chains are not allowed.

A light must be worn by a lead dog from sunset to sunrise. The light must be visible to oncoming traffic. Due to the short duration of the Trophy Class race, the Trophy Class is NOT required to have a light on the lead dog.

Each driver must have in possession at all times during the race:

  • A sled capable of accommodating injured or fatigued dogs as well as the required promotional materials and equipment. The sled shall be equipped with an adequate brake, brush bow and snow hook.
  • A bag capable of safely restraining a struggling dog and, if necessary, covering a severely injured or expired dog. Any expired dog shall be completely covered.
  • Proper cold weather sleeping bag
  • Knife (kept easily accessible)
  • Headlamp (must be on from sunset to sunrise).  If you do not have a headlamp on - you do not travel on the trail.  The Trophy Class is NOT required to carry a headlamp.
  • Symbolic fur trade promotional trap (provided by the VCSDR)
  • Veterinary diary & time card (provided by the VCSDR)

Required gear will be checked at the start and the finish. Missing equipment will result in a time penalty. For reassurance and safety, drivers may be asked for a gear check upon departure from any checkpoint.


Event Course
Trails will be broken and marked before the event. However, due to weather, there is no guarantee of broken trails during the event.

The Voyageurs Classic Sled Dog Race uses Grant and Aid Snowmobile trails. Road crossings will be kept to a minimum. The course may be re-routed by the VCSDR event organization as conditions require.

All teams must follow the trail as marked or as redirected by trail officials.

Teams must give trail when asked, except in no-man’s land which will be designated at the musher’s meeting. The passing team may ask the other team to stop or slow down to assist in the pass. However, assisting a team to pass does not mean you must leave your team and drag the passing team on by.

Drivers resting, snacking, or untangling dogs must clear the trail of their dogs and gear, making passage safe for other teams.

Drivers who litter the trail with food or other items shall be subject to a time penalty. When feeding dogs or snacking dogs on the trail you cannot leave anything behind that may slow down any team passing through.

Required Layovers & Offset of Start Intervals

8-Dog Pro Class - Total required layover time shall be a minimum of two (2) hours plus time differential. Layover begins when the driver signs in and ends when the driver signs out. If the team returns to the checkpoint for any reason, the additional time spent at the checkpoint will not be credited towards the minimum layover requirement, but will count as race time.

The two-minute start intervals will be offset by requiring additional layover time for the earlier starters. These offset times will be added to the two hours of layover required for the race. Drivers are responsible for keeping track of their layover times.

Trophy Class - No required rest or layover.  


The race trail is a scenic route that traverses varied terrain including forests, brooks, lakes, fields and populated areas. The distance, terrain, and variable weather make this a challenging race. Due to the rigors of the course, drivers will have to exercise good judgment in pacing themselves and their teams. The course is run on all snowmobile trails and the course markings for the event include the markings associated with the snowmobile trails. The trails in use will be presented at the musher meeting.

The 8-Dog Pro class will start in Northome and run south, then east to Barney's Resort. Two (2) hours rest plus differential will be taken here. The course will then return west to the finish in Northome. The total mileage for the 8-Dog Pro Class is 78 miles.

This is a “wilderness style” checkpoint – handler assistance is allowed for ONLY the following:

  • Handlers may meet their team at the Barney’s Resort line, assist in taking the team to the layover area, monitor the dogs when the musher is away from the team, and assist the team back to the restart line. Dropped dogs will be the responsibility of the handler. NO OTHER HELP IS ALLOWED.

Straw will be provided for each team. Musher and/or handlers are responsible for cleaning up the layover area. Musher must bring all gear and food for this checkpoint in the sled upon leaving the start.

The Trophy Class will start in Northome and head south to the finish at Squaw Lake. The total mileage for the Trophy Class is 28 miles.


The Barney’s Resort checkpoint is 39 miles from the start and 39 miles from the finish in Northome. This is a “wilderness style” checkpoint. Teams will be taken care of by the MUSHER ONLY – except for the following:

  • Handlers may meet their team at the Barney’s Resort line, assist in taking the team to the layover area, monitor the dogs when the musher is away from the team, and assist the team back to the restart line. Dropped dogs will be the responsibility of the handler. NO OTHER HELP IS ALLOWED.

Cold water, straw, and a place to get out of the cold will be provided. Musher must bring all gear and food for this checkpoint in the sled upon leaving the start.

Squaw Lake will be the finish for the Trophy Class race.


Whips of any kind or the use of brush, branches or any object as a whip will be expressly prohibited. Cruel or inhumane treatment of dogs will result in the immediate expulsion of the driver. The Race Director, Race Marshall, or judges in consultation with a veterinarian will have absolute determination regarding the cruel or inhumane treatment of dogs.

Any dog that expires for any reason during the event shall be completely covered in a sled bag and delivered as soon as possible to a race official. The Chief Veterinarian will examine the body to determine the cause of death. If needed, a full necropsy shall be performed at the driver's expense. Death of a dog may result in a penalty to the driver.

Teams Tied Together: Two or more teams may not be tied together in any way, except to assist a driver in trouble at some immediate location. The drivers of any teams so involved must notify event officials at the next checkpoint.

Loose Dogs/Lost Teams: A lost team will not be penalized if the driver regains control, provided that the entire race course is covered by both team and driver. A driver may accept help from another driver in recovering their team without penalty.

Switching Dogs: Dogs shall not be switched between teams after they have officially left the start line.

There will be no boxing of dogs until the musher’s race class is completed or the dog(s) have been officially dropped from the race.

Dropped Dogs: Dogs may be dropped at the Barney’s Resort checkpoint or at the start of the event only. If a driver returns to the start to drop a dog, the number of dogs remaining in the team must still equal or exceed the minimum required at the event start.


Outside Assistance: No assistance which would result in a competitive advantage may be solicited or accepted.

Between checkpoints drivers may not accept assistance from any type of motorized vehicle, except to recover a lost team. Drivers are encouraged to solicit or accept any available help recovering a lost team. (However, if the Race Marshall determines that a musher has thereby gained a competitive advantage, then the Marshall may impose an appropriate time penalty.)

Pacing with snowmobiles is prohibited.

Use of ski poles will be prohibited in all events.

If personal handlers appear on the event course or at any location other than at the designated checkpoints, the team shall be assessed a time penalty.

Sportsmanship: Any driver or their handlers engaged in any unsportsmanlike-like conduct will be disqualified. We will not tolerate any vulgar or obscene language to any one associated with the event or a spectator. Any musher who is involved in a confrontation out on the trail can file a complaint by filling out the form in the vet book.  The form can be handed to any judge for review.

Withdrawal from an event: To withdraw from a Voyageurs Classic event, a driver must sign an official resignation form (form in Vet Book) and present it to a Voyageurs Classic official.

Rule Violations and Safety Problems: Protests and reports of rule violations shall not be discussed with any other persons, including spectators or media. Only the Race Marshall may issue statements to the media regarding protests and violations.

Failure of a driver to comply with the event rules and cooperate with officials may result in a monetary or time penalty as assessed by the Race Marshall.

The Race Marshall will have the authority to stop a team if the Race Marshall feels the safety of the dogs or driver is in jeopardy.

We feel that the spirit of the rules of this race will prevail. We do not believe in any disqualifications for a rule infraction. You paid an entry fee to run an event course and we will do anything we can to get you to the finish in a fair manner. However, a disqualification will be handed out to any one who uses improper language.