While Midwest Shivers, Sled Race Cancelled in Alaska

January 31, 2019


KTUU Anchorage:

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – Rain has ruined the 2019 Willow 300 dog sled race. Race organizers canceled the event when trail damage caused by warm, wet weather was too pervasive to keep up with, Christine Stitt, the race’s director and organizer told KTUU early Tuesday afternoon.

The 300-mile, three-day mid-distance race is among the events long distance mushers use to qualify for the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.

“We were good up until last night when it started raining,” Stitt said.
“It is just not safe for musher, dog or machines and we just won’t put anyone in that position,” she said.

Temperatures above freezing and continued rainfall wrecked sections previously repaired, and water crossings were deemed too dangerous, Stitt said.

Thirty-four mushers who’d signed up, including Mat-Su Borough mayor Vern Halter, and Iditarod veterans Anna and Kristy Berington, Nick Petit, Wade Marrs, and Cim Smyth, will receive refunded entry fees, less the required $25 membership fee to be a part of the Willow Dog Mushers Association. Memberships will carry forward one year, Stitt said.


4 Responses to “While Midwest Shivers, Sled Race Cancelled in Alaska”

  1. mboli Says:

    “trail damage caused by warm, wet weather…”
    Why would that cancel a dog sled race? They are called “mushers,” right?

  2. redskylite Says:

    In order for the famous Iditarod race to take place, the route has had to be changed and organizers have even shipped snow in for a number of years now. Actually we are convinced that the climate has changed. There can be no denying this. It is not funny and it is not trivial. The next few generations will need to deal with the effects, the taking place of sledge races will be a minor point.

    As mushers and their dogs prepare for the Iditarod sled dog race, the fabled trek through Alaska’s wilderness, a warm winter has once again robbed the starting line of an important ingredient: snow.

    To make sure the dozens of sledding teams are greeted with snow at the start of their roughly 1,000-mile journey, organizers decided to ask the Alaska Railroad to trundle in about 350 cubic yards of it from snowier locales. It is the first time the railroad has had to ship snow from Fairbanks to Anchorage.

    As the annual Iditarod sled dog race was set to begin Sunday, the starting location and parts of the route had to be changed due to “inadequate snow.”
    The original course would have begun in Willow, Alaska, just north of Anchorage, and wound north through the Alaska Range, ending up in Nome. This year, the race will start in farther north, in Fairbanks, avoiding much of the Alaska Range and continuing due west to Nome.


    • dumboldguy Says:

      Not to worry—-it won’t be long before beach volleyball will take off in Alaska and replace the Iditarod as a tourist attraction.

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