usfssLogo2The NWSDA is excited to announce a new twist to this season’s dryland race series! Each of the upcoming dryland races for the Fall of 2016 and Spring of 2017 have been granted World Cup accreditation through the United States Federation of Sled Dog Sports (USFSS) and the International Federation of Sled Dog Sports (IFSS).

Whaaaaat?!
The IFSS was formed in the mid 80’s as collaboration between two sled dog organizations known as ISDRA and ESDRA, with the goal of working towards International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognition and someday bringing sled dog sports into the Winter Olympics. You can read a bit more about the history of the IFSS here: http://www.sleddogsport.net/about/ifss-history/, and you can research much more about the IFSS through searching their home page at: http://www.sleddogsport.net/.

 

Since this time, the IFSS and country-specific organizations supportive of IFSS initiatives have sprung up around the world. The affiliate for the United States is known as the Unites States Federation of Sled Dog Sports (USFSS). The USFSS acts to represent/present mushers from the USA to the IFSS for World Championship events and participation. In other words, the USFSS essentially acts as a support system, clearing house for information, and referral/selection body of USA mushing/mushers onward to the greater IFSS organization. You can read more about the USFSS here: http://www.usfss.org/index.html.

*The IFSS Canadian affiliated organization (for our friends to the North) is known as the Canadian Association of Harness Dog Sports (CAHDS). You can review their information here: http://canada-mushing.ca/.

Why did the NWSDA choose to affiliate with and seek accreditation from the USFSS/IFSS?
Our main interests in seeking to accredit our dryland race series was primarily two-fold: 1) As a club we support and advocate for the mushers (and dogs) in our membership, and also for our sport as a whole, 2) Locally/regionally, we seek to continue to provide our membership (human and canine), and other NWSDA event participants with new, unique, aspiring, and challenging opportunities to engage and grow in the sport. Many of our membership and others from our region have trained and developed their animals and their own skills to a truly impressive level, and we have not only taken note, but are so proud of the accomplishments of you all, whether your focus has been on the recreational or competitive aspect. Perhaps some of you would be interested in taking your teams outside of this region and competing with/against other great teams across the country, and even perhaps representing TEAM USA or TEAM Canada (and our home region) someday at World Championship events!? Participating in the World Cup accreditation aspect of the NWSDA dryland series is a vehicle to help you achieve these goals and have a lot of fun in the process to boot.

What does this all mean for the NWSDA club members and/or other attendees to the upcoming dryland races?
Well, it doesn’t have to mean anything for anyone. You are still able to register to race just as you always have and not affiliate/participate at all with the IFSS/USFSS aspect… business as usual. However, if you are interested, please continue to read onward.

The basics of how an event becomes IFSS ‘World Cup’ accredited…
Each country participating in the IFSS movement is allotted a certain number of ‘World Cup’ events that can be accredited/hosted each season in their respective country; both for dryland and snow events. These World Cup events essentially become the series and proving grounds for teams around the country to compete and gather ‘points’…more on this in a minute. Local/regional organizations (like the NWSDA) hosting their own events and perhaps interested in being considered an official IFSS World Cup event, simply fill-out an application for consideration and submit. The home country IFSS affiliate organization, so in the case, the USFSS, initially receives/reviews these applications, and then sends a motion to recommend approval or even deny accreditation onward to the IFSS. The IFSS then reviews the application and the recommendation from the country affiliate organization, and then either grants or denies accreditation.

How you register to get involved and play along…
Individual mushers choosing to participate in the IFSS accredited aspect of these ‘World Cup’ events follow this simple process: 1) Become a member of your host country’s IFSS affiliated organization. For mushers from the US, go to the USFSS web-site, fill out the basic application as an ‘Active Athlete Musher’, and pay the associated fee ($25.87, renewable each year). This is found here: http://www.usfss.org/membership.htm.
Canadian mushers do the same through the CAHDS web-site: http://canada-mushing.ca/

Next, on these same web-sites, also register and pay for a driver’s identification number (Also known as the DID number) for a yearly fee of $40. For the USFSS, this is specifically found here: http://www.usfss.org/instructions.htm. Canadians can find the same on their aforementioned site’s home page.

You are now officially set to participate in the IFSS World Cup aspect of any race that has chosen to accredit!

You will complete the regular race entry form distributed by the NWSDA, select the classes in which you desire to compete, and submit with it the DID# you were distributed by the USFSS/CAHDS. You will compete with/against all the other mushers racing in an accredited World Cup event, whether or not those other mushers are participating in this aspect, and your results/placement, and that of the event as a whole, are then recorded and tracked by the host organization (NWSDA) and the country’s IFSS affiliate (in our case, the USFSS). These results are then sent onward to the IFSS for official registry, and ‘points’ are distributed/collected by those participating mushers throughout their season at World Cup accredited events. The total number of points one earns/collects within any particular IFSS accredited class (dryland or snow) are then compared to those of others, both within your own country, and around the world, who are competing in races/classes meeting similar criteria as those you have raced in.

A musher’s total points for any given season/class, and your race results history as a whole in World Cup events year to year are then reviewed and considered by your home country’s IFSS affiliate (USFSS/CAHDS) to make selections to represent TEAM USA (or Canada) at the IFSS ‘World Championship’ dryland or snow/sled event held once per year. The more points you have collected, and the more consistently competitive you have proven to be, increases your chances of being selected. Again, a World Championship dryland and snow event is held one singular location/country each and every year. Each country selects and sends what they feel are their strongest representatives to this event to compete with/against those of the same.

In particular, we are told from mushers known to have competed in World Championship events that it was an experience of a lifetime to join in with their country’s mushing comrades and compete against/with other teams from around the globe. That said, due to our unique geographic location, The NWSDA, both in membership and in our hosted events, happens to also and already have an international flare with mushers from the USA and Canada now consistently coming together to share a love for sled dog sports. This makes us uniquely qualified and desirable as an official IFSS accredited World Cup site, and perhaps it will even help spur further growth bringing mushers together in competition and play.

Q&A:

If you are a member of the USFSS or the CAHDS and have a DID number, do your results at races competed in across the border still count towards points/consideration in your home country?
Absolutely, your DID # is encoded according to country and always counts when you compete, even when attending another World Cup accredited event in another country.

Is every class single class at a World Cup event accredited?
No, some classes offered by a race organization may not qualify as an officially recognized IFSS class. On the entry form, the classes that are accredited will be indicated for your reference and consideration.

Can I enter in more than one accredited class per race and perhaps even be selected by the USFSS to join TEAM USA in competing in multiple events at any World Championship event?
Absolutely, however, hosting race organization rules, both those of the NWSDA and the IFSS, surrounding dogs competing in multiple classes at the same event must be adhered to.

If I am interested in participating in the IFSS aspect of the upcoming NWSDA dryland events (and/or others offered throughout the US/Canada this Fall/Winter/Spring), when should I register as a member of the USFSS or CAHDS and get a DID #?
We can’t stress enough that you do these two things ASAP. If you have not yet been distributed a DID # by the time the race entry forms are offered/due, don’t worry, and please just simply indicate this fact, and that you plan to participate in the IFSS World Cup aspect on your entry form, and get your entry form sent in. You will have the opportunity to report your DID # to the NWSDA (Ingrid Earle) at any point prior to the start of the race.

Are IFSS points for dryland and sled events combined?
No, the IFSS separately tracks how many points you have accumulated in any particular class, dryland or snow. Snow classes/results do not affect dryland and vice versa. There is a yearly IFSS Dryland ‘Championship’ event and also one for snow/sled.

Notes:
We suggest you also find these organizations on social media and join their pages. This is how they often share important info in addition to posting on their web-site for those who prefer not to.

We encourage you to follow up with the USFSS and/or CAHDS directly to check on the status of your memberships and DID # distribution. You can find the various points of contact for each on their web-sites.

Please feel free to contact the NWSDA USFSS/IFSS liaisons, Ingrid Earle and/or Benjamin Thompson, for any other additional questions related to this briefing that you may have. We will do our best to answer any/all.

We hope to see you all at our upcoming dryland races. Mush on!