Posted by: Mary Carter | 28 January, 2014

SDAS Representation at WSA GA in Aschau, Austria 21 September 2013


SDAS Representation at WSA GA in Aschau, Austria 21 September 2013

On 20 September 2013 Mary Carter (SDAS Secretary) and myself, Cherry Fairley (SDAS Membership Secretary), flew from Aberdeen to Innsbruck via Frankfurt to attend and represent SDAS at the 2013 WSA General Assembly hosted by Danler sleds in Aschau/Tyrol. As the flight arrived late in the evening at Innsbruck a room in the Hostel Marmot was booked and the journey to the GA venue completed on the Saturday morning.

Irene Valenkamp representing the English WSA member the Alaskan Malamute Working Association and also German/English interpreter for the WSA and one of it’s Auditors, kindly collected us from the hostel and drove us the remainder of the journey to Aschau which took approximately one hour.

We were met at Aschau by Cindy van den Brink (Treasurer) and introduced to other WSA Board members including Chairman Arno Steichler, Director MD Michael Landau and Director of Public Relations Christian Helm. After a short while of meeting other Board members and delegates, having lunch and perusing the stalls at the mushers market we were shown our accommodation which Cindy had arranged that we could share with Irene Valenkamp to reduce costs.


The GA commenced at 1.44 pm. The full minutes of the meeting are published on the website of the WSA at

For SDAS the important part of the meeting was the application for SDAS to join the WSA to represent Scotland independently from the rest of the UK which was currently represented by AMWA. The benefit to SDAS for separate representation is that it would get voting rights to participate in decisions made by the WSA and SDAS would also get its own allocation of places at WSA races. Mary Carter presented her reasoned argument to the WSA members present regarding the application by SDAS. She reminded them that historically Scottish members have previously shown an interest by competing at WSA events for several years and they had conducted themselves in a good manner as ‘wild cards’. With the easing of the cross border controls and pet passports travel to events abroad has become easier for Sottish competitors and from a recent survey conducted by SDAS a significant number of members had shown an interest in competing abroad in both dryland and ‘on snow’ races.  SDAS as a club is keen to form good relations with other sled Dog Clubs at world level and to offer its members the opportunities to develop and race or travel abroad and link with other countries.  SDAS has always been at the forefront of UK sled dog racing in excess of 21 years with a healthy membership of around 200 mushers including junior members.

SDAS was unanimously voted in as a new member, along with New Zealand, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland.

The WSA GA meeting was an historical event in that for the first time dryland racing was recognised by the WSA in recognition of the Member Countries where snow is lacking but sled dog sports are very much still active. Rolf Munch was voted as the new Dryland Director. Further, it was agreed that the WSA would work in partnership with the IFSS for the 2014 European Dryland Championship to be held Lamotte-Beuvron, near Paris, France.


After the close of the GA there was an evening of entertainment, music, food and drinks and a raffle at the venue which proved an important opportunity to meet other member country delegates and to bond and form new friendships with them thereby strengthening SDAS ties abroad.

Early Sunday morning Irene again very kindly dropped Mary and myself back at Innsbruck airport for our flights home.


I feel the trip was a great success in that we achieved what we had set out to do and got SDAS membership of the WSA, during the process we met many knowledgeable and influential people in the sport and formed bonds with them to build on in the future Club members can now draw on a wealth of knowledge on aspects of sled dog sport and racing.

Cherry Fairley


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