Athletes, spectators turn out for skijoring races

FORT KENT, Maine — Skijoring races at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center drew many racers and fans throughout the weekend.

“Overall, we had a very good turnout from an athlete and spectator perspective,”  said Joey Ouellette, vice president for the board of directors at the FKOC.

Fort Kent Elementary School student Gabe Ouellette greets a canine athlete during skijor races at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center on Saturday, March 3. (Courtesy of Joey Ouellette)

Skijoring is similar to dogsledding, but rather than riding on a sled as dogs pull them, the mushers are on skis. The skijoring races coincided with and took advantage of the crowds also visiting the area for the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races.

Maude Lapointe of Quebec raced in the 4 kilometer skijor on Saturday with one dog and on Sunday raced with two dogs in the 12 kilometer event.

This was Lapointe’s first visit to the Fort Kent Outdoor Center after learning about the skijoring races through word of mouth..

“I heard from my friends that it was an incredible skijoring race,” Lapoint said. “I was supposed to be there last year with them, but I couldn’t go because my dog was injured.”

Lapointe said that she was impressed by the quality of the race site and trails at the FKOC.

“Everything was just perfect,” she said. “We have nice races in Quebec, but in Fort Kent, nothing was left behind to make sure the racers and their dogs have the best experience. Everything was so professional with the [veterinarian] checks, the very accurate timing system, the announcers.”

Neil Fisher and his team of dogs compete in the 4-kilometer Skijoring Sprint at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center on Saturday, March 3. (Courtesy of Joey Ouellette)

Karen Koehler placed first in Saturday’s 2 kilometer skijor sprint with a time of 5.03.6. Koehler also placed first in the 4 kilometer kicksled race (9:42.0) on Saturday and Sunday’s 6 kilometer kicksled race (14:35.7).

Fran Plaisted earned the top spot in the 4 kilometer skijor on Saturday with a time of 9:38.2. Joelle Bergeron completed the 6 kilometer skijor (14:54.4), to win first place in that race.

Marie-phil Rodrigue dominated the weekend’s longest skijor race, the 12 kilometer with a time of 29:24.3.

For more race results, visit the Fort Kent Outdoor Center website.

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