Iditarod Update: Dogsled Race Moved Again Due to Warm Weather

March 5, 2015



Due to poor conditions along the Alaska Range, the 43rd Iditarod Sled Dog Race will begin in Fairbanks, Alaska, rather than Willow, Alaska, for only the second time in the event’s history.

While the ceremonial start will still take place Saturday, March 7, in Anchorage, race officials determined in early February that it would be best to “restart” the race Monday, March 9, in Fairbanks. Weather continues to throw a wrench into plans, however. Earlier this week, organizers moved the Fairbanks restart to a different part of town following deteriorating river ice near the original location, according an Alaska Dispatch News report.

“While some snow did fall east of the Alaska Range over the past couple of weeks, other parts of the trail, in very critical areas, did not get much or any of it,” said CEO Stan Hooley, when the decision to move to Fairbanks was announced.

The forecast in Anchorage for Saturday is mostly cloudy with some rain and snow possible and a high approaching 40, according to Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls. For Monday’s restart, some light snow is possible around Fairbanks with a high around 10, and lows Monday night will approach 20 below zero F, he added.

“There will be a shot of colder-than-normal air across Alaska during the week of [March 9],” Nicholls said. “The coldest weather will likely be early in the week with an easing of the cold late in the week. Above-normal temperatures are likely to return the week of the 16th,” he said.

For dog musher Matt Failor, 32, of Willow, located in the south-central part of the state, warmer-than-normal weather has forced him to alter his training regime. Failor, who is gearing up for his fourth Iditarod, has been driving north to find colder weather and safer trails for his 30 Alaskan Huskies to train.


If you, or your dittohead Uncle, might be wondering how this can be, the video here, from last year, is still valid as to the effects of a wandering jet stream.

More news from Fairbanks below.

 Fairbanks News Miner:

FAIRBANKS—Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race organizers officially unveiled their new Plan B for the restart location on Monday.

The new route moves the starting line several hundred feet, from the Chena River just north of Pike’s Waterfront Lodge to Hoselton Road just south of the lodge.


Warm weather over the last two weeks contributed to the thinning of ice on the Chena and the opening of leads where the start was planned. Hopkins and Hooley said that, though the river looked good earlier in February, by Monday it was clear the area right near Pike’s Landing would not be usable.

Hooley said he has heard desires from some to have the race start downtown but said such a start would not be feasible for several reasons. First, mushers would not be able to travel downstream on the Chena because of the open water past the power plant. Second, if the start directed mushers upstream and had them follow the Iron Dog course as some have suggested, it would add something like 50 miles to the race, according to Hooley.

Hooley said that, though 50 miles may not sound significant to some, it would throw off the timing of a race that was already bumped back a day to accommodate the Fairbanks restart.


Wasilla, AK, weather March 4, 2015





One Response to “Iditarod Update: Dogsled Race Moved Again Due to Warm Weather”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    If they hurry, they can run the race here in the Mid-Atlantic. VA, WV, PA, NY, and western MD have more snow than parts of Alaska. DC Cherry Blossom Festival begins in less than 2 weeks—–LOL.

    Or how about starting in Boston and running up into NH and ME? It even looks a bit like Alaska—they have moose (although global warming is killing them off).

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