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-31 degrees? No sweat for sled dogs in Grand Marais


While truck engines failed to start in the arctic freeze bearing down on northeast Minnesota, teams of sled dogs took off running during the final stretch of the Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race Monday morning.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the third leg of the race began at Devil Track Lake near Grand Marais where it was minus 31 degrees with a minus 63 degree wind chill – the coldest wind chill in the state Monday.

While mushers were bundled up from head to toe, many of the sled dogs wearing only little jackets and race booties didn't seem to be bothered by the cold. A team of veterinarians were on site to make sure the dogs stayed healthy.

“It was colder than we were used to,” musher Buddy Streeper from British Columbia, Canada told the newspaper. "But we put the coats on the dogs, and they didn’t care."

Not all participants were able to endure the extreme cold temperatures. Race Director Beth Drost said three teams dropped out of the race on the second day.

One by one, 10 teams crossed the finish line in Grand Portage Monday afternoon covered in frost and ice, according to the newspaper.

Streeper was named winner of the three-day race with a cumulative time of 15 hours, 41 minutes, 59 seconds.

More photos are available on the race Facebook page.

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