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CopperDog 150 - Stage 3

Thanks to the long layover between stages 2 and 3, mushers, their dog teams, the volunteers, just everyone comes into Sunday with renewed energy and focus. Each year the Copper Harbor restart gets better and better with the community shutting a major highway (US41) to enable mushers to launch out of Copper Harbor right from downtown. Our MC is back for the stage 3 start announcing teams as they enter the starting chute.

The Pines Resort and the Tamarack Inn Restaurant are well renowned for offering the best breakfasts in our region and they open very early between 5:30 and 6:00AM to ensure mushers, handlers, race officials, vets and volunteers have an opportunity for a morning cup of coffee and a hot meal before heading out into the cold.

Stage 3 is 41 miles, mostly thorofare snowmobile trail except for a few locations where we take teams off the beaten path for a little background adventure. In the early years, this short sections of backcountry could be pretty tough, but heavier grooming has reduced the difficulty of these sections of trail in recent years.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of stage 3 is the climb from Copper Harbor to the top of Brockway Mountain, about 600' over 4 miles of trail (see stage 3 elevation map), if the planning team can continue to work out access. Mushers have reportedly loved this climb because its not only an amazing feeling to finally reach the summit and make the turn down the backside of the mountain, but its a perfect use of the dogs unbridled enthusiasm coming fresh out of Copper Harbor.

Once teams are over Brockway and through the back country that follows, its pretty much a straight shot down Trail 3 back to downtown Calumet where cheering spectators are welcoming teams home.  Teams average between 8.5 and 12.9 mph climbing brockway, right round 10.5 mph through the country and finally between 10 and 12 mph for the remainder of the stage.

The reverse start out of Copper Harbor tends to pack teams together bringing almost all of the competitors into downtown Calumet within an hour. The spectators are very excited to experience teams coming in back to back. Each year has drawn more spectators to the downtown finish. 

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