After 350 miles and a stint of unusually warm weather, a kennel operator from New Zealand has won Montana's Race To The Sky Sled Dog Race.

Curt Perano crossed the finish line in Lincoln with 11 of his 12 dogs at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday with a total trail time of 12:44:02. He and his wife, Fleur, operate Itasca Kennels in Queensland and have been training in Togo, Minn., over the past few months to prepare for their first Race to the Sky entry.

"It was tough weather conditions out there . with the heat and all," Perano said.

Second place went to Laura Daugereau, of Port Gamble, Wash., with a time of 12:48:56.

The first leg, which began Saturday and went from Elk Park in Butte to Rimini, included steep inclines and ice. The race restarted on Sunday in Lincoln, did a loop out over to White Tail, then went past Seeley Lake to a wilderness checkpoint and retraced the route to end back in Lincoln on Tuesday.

At times, the route took mushers to elevations reaching 6,000 feet.

Perano said some of the areas between Lincoln and Seeley Lake were the toughest on the dogs. The team saw downed trees, deep wind drifts, icy inclines and consistently had to deal with the heat.

"With weather like this, it is more ideal to run at night and rest during the day," he said.

But head race marshal Rob Gregor said this year isn't the first in which the heat has taken a toll.

He has been racing and volunteering in the Race to the Sky for the past 17 years and remembers a couple of very warm races in the 1990s, but he said the year that really sticks out is 2005.

"That was the year that Rimini flooded at the start of the race," he said. "It was the first year we had to cancel. The temperatures were so warm and so wet that groomed trails between (Lincoln) and Seeley Lake were blocks of ice. It was just too dangerous to run dogs."

Jenny Greger of Bozeman won the 100-mile Junior Race to the Sky early Monday, 16 minutes ahead of runner-up Aiyana Ferraro of Victor.

Story from the Associated Press

Check out the race website for a gallery of pictures from this year's race.

Montana's Race To The Sky Sled Dog Race