Saturday, February 8, 2014

Iditarod Willow ReStart in jeopardy

With the unseasonably warm weather of January, talk for the last several weeks has surrounded around the Iditarod and what the trail would be like - or if there was even enough snow to put on the race. February has been significantly colder in most parts of Alaska, but no snow has followed. It prompted a lot of rumors that the Iditarod would relocate to Fairbanks as it did in 2003. The Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) took to facebook answering the questions late in January to say that it was too soon to make a decision. It didn't stop the rumors and talk, but fans at least had an official answer to go with.

The ITC went to facebook once again to make the announcement Saturday morning that the Ceremonial start will be in Anchorage. At this time, they said, they are still planning to go to Willow for the restart. However, while Anchorage and Willow have enough snow, the early part of the trail is causing concern. The ITC will monitor the situation and make an announcement mid-February as to whether or not they will need to move the race north.

Their post follows:

RACE PLANNING UPDATE: The Ceremonial Start of Iditarod XLII will be held in Anchorage on Saturday, March 1, beginning at 10:00 am as planned. At this time we are planning to stage the Restart in Willow on Sunday, March 2 beginning at 2:00 pm, also as planned. We do have trail concerns, particularly from the top of Rainy Pass to Nikolai. If conditions are not deemed acceptable by February 17, we will stage the Restart in Fairbanks on Monday, March 3, time yet to be determined.

Should they move the restart to Fairbanks, this will be the second time in race history that the Iditarod starts anywhere other than South Central Alaska.

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