Monday, January 19, 2015

Alaska's winter weather causing problems farther North

The "other thousand mile sled dog race" known as The Yukon Quest issued a press release today giving a trail update and possible alternate route for part of the race next month. With three weeks until the start, Quest trail officials have reported that the river is unfrozen near Whitehorse.

This winter has seen unseasonably warm temperatures in most of Alaska - causing problems for many of the sport's big races. The Tustumena 200 has postponed their race to Feb 21 in hopes that the Kenai Peninsula would see freezing temps and snow. So far all the Kenai's seen in a dusting of snow and lots of freezing rain. Trails are non existent at this point with many Peninsula mushers heading north for training when not running along the beaches with their four wheelers as a sled.

The Copper Basin 300 ran without a hitch, and no big changes to the route were reportedly made. The Kusko 300 ran mainly on river ice and asked spectators not to park on the river as they'd done in years past. Again, no problems were had by the teams, and Pete Kaiser brought the win back home to Bethel. The Northern Lights 300 is planning to kick off this weekend - with reports of overflow and open water.

With three weeks till show time the Quest is not making any plans to change course at this time. Stating in their press release: "There are still three weeks until the start of the race, and a lot can change. Trail crews are out on both sides of the border and we will have a more comprehensive trail report available next week." Crews are working on alternate routes should conditions worsen.

There are 26 teams ready and waiting for the race, four of which are champions.

And while I'm on the subject of sled dog races and the Northern Lights 300 - GOOD LUCK JODI BAILEY and Dew Claw Kennel! She's an amazing musher and person. I just love her!
Jodi Bailey at the finish of the 2012 Tustumena 200.

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