More than 75 elite athletes hightailed it to Park City Mountain Resort last spring, racing in circles and throwing wicked freestyle moves while catching Frisbees in their mouths. The almost-Olympic occasion was the Purina Dog Chow Incredible Dog Challenge, part of a six-event yearlong series -- a sort of X Games for the canine set.
The pups were pitted against each other in timed avalanche rescues, a freestyle flying-disc contest, and sled-dog sprint and skijoring races that went around a half-mile loop -- sort of a doggie skiercross. "We built berms, rollers, and other terrain features for it," says Park City events manager Jeff Frost. "There was lots of bumping and boxing."
Compared to the upcoming Olympics, hosting the Challenge was a walk in the park. "The dogs loved it here and had no complaints about the course, based on the barks and wagging of tails," says Frost. "And they're definitely less pampered athletes."