Twenty-three teams will be on hand next week when the 18th annual International Stage Stop Sled Dog Race sets out from the Jackson Town Square on the beginning of a ten day race through four states. Participating mushers hail from Alaska, Canada, Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, Oregon and Sweden. Altogether, the mushers will be bringing some 368 dogs to compete in the event which has become the largest sled dog race in the lower 48 states. This year’s race follows a new route with stages visiting the communities of West Yellowstone, Montana; Alpine, Pinedale, Lander, Big Piney/Marbleton, Kemmerer, and Mountain View in Wyoming, and finishes on February second in Evanston, Wyoming. A majority of 16 teams on this year’s roster have competed in past IPSSSDRs but five are newcomers. Local Musher Stacey Teasley says aside from the race, the social gathering of mushers makes the event particularly fun for the competitors. This year, Wyoming has three mushers entered in the event: Alix Pearson from Bondurant, who will be racing in the IPSSSDR for the first time; Jerry Bath from Lander who placed 7th in the 2012 IPSSSDR; and of course Stacey Teasley from Jackson who placed 12th last year. The race steps off amid no small amount of ceremony one week from today at the Jackson town square.