The Alaska Railroad will be hauling in seven freight cars filled with snow so the event can begin on time.
For the second year in a row, record-low snow levels in Anchorage have caused problems for world’s largest dog sledding competition. Iditarod, which is scheduled to kick off this Saturday in Anchorage, has been dealing with the brunt of another season of high temperatures and low snow-fall.
Luckily, the good folks from The Alaska Railroad will be hauling seven freight cars filled with 300 cubic yards of snow in order to help the event begin on time.
“It’s no secret that warm temperatures for days on end have further eroded what little snow cover existed on the trail system here in Anchorage,” Iditarod’s CEO said in a statement. “We are exploring our options at this time as we very well may need to shorten our Day 1 Ceremonial Start.”
Additionally, dog-sledders, called mushers, will travel only three miles as opposed to the traditional 11 during the race’s ceremonial start, organizers said.
"Anchorage's street maintenance, parks and recreation and police departments worked very hard to find a way for us to go the full 11 miles," Stan Hooley of the Iditarod Trail Committee. "Unfortunately, the warm temperatures persisted and it is no longer possible this year."
Considered to be the largest and best-known sporting competition in the state, the Iditarod trail covers 1,000 miles of terrain with contenders battling freezing temperatures as they traverse across jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forest, and desolate tundras. The first-place musher takes home a $70,000 prize.
Michelle Gross is a Freelance Producer at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @mtothegnyc