La Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc will be crossing the Alps Jan. 8-19.

This race, in its seventh year, challenges 33 of the planet's best mushers and close to 400 professional athlete huskies. It is the world's most technical dog sled race.

During the race, they will run 1000 kilometres together and climb 25,000 metres of ascending slopes. This detail sets La Grande Odysée apart from races like the Iditarod or the Yukon Quest, which run over fairly flat land.

La Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc lasts two weeks and is divided into 10 phases. From Jan. 8-11, the teams cover Les Portes du Soleil, going from Avoriaz to Champéry. The Haute Savoy-Savoy liaison follows Jan. 12-14. It runs through the Espace Diamant and Megève. Finally, the Haute Maurienne Vanoise leg takes the teams from Val Cenis Vanoise the villages of Haute Maurienne Vanoise. On its way, it passes through the Plateau de Petit Mont Cenis, Bonneval, Aussois, and several other village-stations.

Dog sledding is one of the world's oldest means of transportation, having existed for more than 5000 years. The sport, which uses only human and animal energy, is in complete harmony with the natural environment. It also represents the complicity between man and animal; the musher's survival depends on the close relationship he builds with his huskies.

During these two weeks, more than 50 side activities such as dog sledding initiations, giant tartiflette dishes, trapper villages, and themed exhibits will take place in the ski resorts.

Spectators can watch the event from various points along the race's itinerary that are accessible by skiing (Alpine or Nordic) and by snowshoeing. Large screens will also be set up in the resorts so that guests may follow the race on TV.

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