La Grande Odyssee is one of the toughest sled dog races in the world. The stage race runs between Savoie and Haut Savoie in France and Switzerland. It covers 900km and more than 25,000m in height difference. It is for the 20-25 most experienced mushers in the world only, who are allowed to line up 14 Alaskan or Siberain huskies at the start of the race.

La Grande Odyssee

01. Sled dogs charge down the trail at the start of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

02. Sled dogs charge down the trail at the start of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

03. Sled dogs charge down the trail at the start of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

04. Sled dogs charge down the trail at the start of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

05. Sled dogs charge down the trail at the start of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

06. Sled dogs charge down the trail at the start of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

07. A dog reacts before the start of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

08. Swiss musher Pierre-Antoine Heritier trains with his dogs in Les Biniis near Sion January 5, 2011. Heritier and 21 other mushers from 12 countries will take part to La Grande Odyssee (The Great Odyssey) sled dog race that will take place through the Alps in France and Switzerland January 8 to 19, covering over 1000 km (621 miles). REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

09. Mushers and their dogs climb the Mont-Cenis road during the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. The picture was taken with a long exposure. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

10. Mushers and their dogs pass near a church on the Mont-Cenis road during the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. The picture was taken with a long exposure. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

11. Italian musher Germano De Martin inspects one of his dogs at the Polar Base at Mont-Cenis road after the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

12. A musher arrives with his dogs at Mont-Cenis road during the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. The picture was taken with a long exposure. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

13. A musher arrives with his dogs at Mont-Cenis road during the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. The picture was taken with long exposure. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

14. A musher arrives with his dogs at Mont-Cenis road during the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. The picture was taken with a long exposure. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

15. Dogs rest for the night at Mont-Cenis road after the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Lanslebourg January 15, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

16. Mushers and dogs are pictured at the Polar Base at sunrise before the second part of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

17. Swiss musher Pierre-Antoine Heritier prepares food for his dogs at the Polar Base in the early morning before the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

18. Mushers prepare food for their dogs in the early morning at the Polar Base before the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. Picture taken with a long exposure. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

19. Mushers prepare food for their dogs in the early morning at the Polar Base before the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

20. Mushers and dogs are pictured at the Polar Base at sunrise before the second part of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

21. Race leader Radek Havrda of Czech Republic and his dogs speed down the track of the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

22. A musher and his dogs speed down the track during the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

23. Mushers and their dogs climb the track during the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

24. Mushers and their dogs climb the track during the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

25. Musher Ketil Retan of Normay climbs the track with his dogs during the second part of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

26. French musher Jean-Philippe Pontier and his dogs speed down the track during the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

27. Musher Ketil Retan of Norway climbs the track with his dogs during the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

28. A musher and his dogs speed down the track during the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

29. Sled dogs run on the track during the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

30. A dog reacts when his bowl arrives before the start of the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

31. Dogs wait for their meal before the start of the second part of the eighth stage of the La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

La Grande Odyssee

32. Musher Ketil Retan of Normay climbs the track with his dogs during the second part of the eighth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont-Cenis January 16, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse