The international dogsled crossing race - the Pirena 2009 Grand Prix Affinity Advance - is taking place over 15 days on the border between Spain, Andorra, and France.

The race visits some of the most popular ski resorts in the Pyrenees, including Baqueira Beret, El Tarter, Grau Roig, Granpallars, Montgarri and La Molina. The race kicks off in Zaragoza and finishes in La Molina. The final awards ceremony takes place in La Molina Jan. 31.

La Molina Tourism says: "Pirena is a challenge that always keeps the philosophy of the respect for the environment, the care of animals and the promotion of the Pyrenees."

Pirena is one of the races that count for the International Sled dog Sports Federation - IFSS World Cup. Pirena also counts for the European Sled dog Racing Association - ESDRA Europe Cup.

Pirena Director, Pep Pares, is the vice-president of the IFSS (International Federation of Sleddog Sports). Pares has started a campaign to collect signatures to make this sport recognised by the IOC (International Olympic Committee). The goal is to convert mushing into an Olympic sport in five years.

La Molina is the oldest ski resort in Spain. The larger resort of Masella is nearby and together the twin resorts offer 100 kilometres of marked runs.