Sunday, January 26, 2014

Are we sure it's still January?

There should have been sled dog events happening in the state of Alaska this weekend. There should have been a more wintery feel to the Peninsula WINTER games this weekend. There should, at the very least, be pristine white snow lining the roads, ditches, and mountains of South Central Alaska.

But none of that happened. Are we sure it's January?

Now, before I hear the "global warming" mantra, let's remember that while it's not a regular occurance Chinook winds and warm weather do happen. With the Lower 48 seeing record low temperatures, it's actually understandable that we're in the mid to upper 40s every day (and night) in Alaska. Yes, the Globe is Warm. No, there's really no need to panic.

There is a need to worry, however. The Iditarod Sled Dog Race, set to start on March 1, could see a drastic change in trail. The only other time this happened was in 2003 when the Anchorage and Willow trails were non existent due to lack of snow. If the start moves further North it will most likely happen from Fairbanks. They've run it from there before (again, 2003). It gives a new audience for the start, but it shortens the race. But, it works in a pinch.

That is, if there's snow and trail to be had come March in the Interior of Alaska.

The Tustumena 200 made the announcement Monday that there would be no race this year. The race was set to go on February 2, but with the warm weather trail reports were dismal. Ice and flooding caused the directors to call off the race. This was to be the 40th running of the T200, and it boasted an impressive roster for both the 200 and 100 mile races. The purse was at an all time high. This was going to be the best race yet.

And, now, like most of Alaska's winter, it's washed away.

Things could turn around. There's a lot of "winter months" left on the calendar for the season. While the rest of the USA "freezes", we're contemplating breaking out our tanks and shorts. It's amusing, and sad, all at the same time.

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