• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 50s

Mushing in mush

By Heather Hintze 10:50 PM January 19, 2014

The warm, sloppy conditions make Iditarod training challenging.

WASILLA - Sled dogs are born to run, rain or shine.

With the Iditarod less than two months away, Scott Janssen’s dogs need all the training they can get to take on the thousand-mile trek.

“The full run is probably going to be about 45 miles today,” Janssen said.

January’s unusually warm temperatures aren’t making it easy though.

“It’s a little bit more work when it’s warmer like this for both the humans and the dogs,” Janssen said. “But it’s important that they’re able to get out and run. They’ve got a big marathon coming up in March, and we’ve got to keep them in fine physical shape.”

The dogs and sled run best when it’s well below freezing, not the 42 degrees it was on Saturday.

“Personally I’d much rather have it ten below,” he said.

He’s had to make some adjustments like shorter runs and revamping his sled.

“With this kind of snow I don’t want the dogs to go too fast so that’s why I’ve got the wrong runner plastic on to make sure that there’s more resistance for them going down the trail,” he explained.

His handler, Iditarod veteran Anna Berington, traded a sled for a snowmachine. The extra weight allows her to run more dogs without losing control of the line.

While the rain and sleet weren’t ideal, she said the dogs didn’t seem to mind.

“It’s not fun conditions, but they’re obviously excited and happy to still be out here so it’s hard to not still have fun even though it’s raining and nasty,” Berington said.

For now they’ll have to make the most of the mushy mushing because Mother Nature will have a lot more in store on the journey to Nome.

“Throughout Iditarod we’ve seen a lot of different trail conditions and weather,” Berington said. “The more stuff you expose yourself to in training the more prepared you’ll be when you encounter that on the trail.”

Janssen said his dogs need the extreme cold and snow to really train their best. If the warm weather continues any longer, he said, he’ll likely make his way north to find better conditions.

Latest Stories

  • News

    More Olympic woes for Rio as doping control lab shuts down

    by CBS News on Jun 28, 8:36

    Just over five weeks before the Summer Olympics get underway, Rio is still ill-prepared to host the games. Police say they are underpaid and Rio’s acting governor admits the games could be a “big failure” because of budget shortfalls. Now, the doping control lab that was set up to make sure athletes don’t cheat is closed, reports […]

  • Crime

    Fugitive sought by US marshals with warrant dies by suicide

    by Associated Press on Jun 28, 7:49

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The U.S. Marshals office says a man sought on a federal warrant killed himself Monday night in Anchorage as officers approached his motorhome. Marshals say Brendan James Doyle shot himself at about 6 p.m. Doyle was being sought as a felon in possession of a firearm. Marshals and an Alaska State […]

  • News

    Native corporation seeks to invest more in southeast Alaska

    by Associated Press on Jun 28, 6:33

    KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) – A southeast Alaska Native corporation has announced it will hold its next annual shareholder meeting in a remote village on Prince of Wales Island as it looks to invest further throughout the region. The Ketchikan Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/28ZOwtM ) that Sealaska CEO Anthony Mallott says having the 2017 meeting in […]

  • Lifestyle

    Return of the RV: 5-star camping is on the rise

    by Liz Raines on Jun 27, 22:54

    Many out-of-staters are now picking wheels over water when it comes to making the most of an Alaskan summer. After taking a hit during the 2009 recession, the sale and rental of recreational vehicles (RV) is on the rise. According to Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), RV shipments nationwide dropped dramatically between the summers of […]

  • Sports

    Chinooks’ skipper beats the odds, returns to Alaska and the baseball diamond

    by Dave Goldman on Jun 27, 22:44

    Walk around Alaska long enough and someone will tell you they’re “living the dream.” Jon Groth can relate. The Chugiak Chinooks head baseball coach made a triumphant return to the diamond and his team after a season long absence in 2015. It could have been longer. Groth had led the Chinooks since 2012. But in the fall of 2014 he suffered a […]

  • Lifestyle

    ‘Parade of Bears’: Bright, colorful bears to find permanent homes in Anchorage

    by Shannon Ballard on Jun 27, 21:59

    Fifteen full-size bears arrived in Anchorage over the weekend. They’re not grizzlies or black bears—they’re made of fiberglass and are part of a public art exhibit, much like other animal statues that have been featured in major cities around the world. Local businesses paid about $1,750 to sponsor one of the bear sculptures and chose artists […]

  • Lifestyle

    Preventable deaths: What you can do if someone is overdosing on drugs

    by Alexis Fernandez on Jun 27, 21:53

    As the Anchorage Police Department tries to figure out what led up to the death of 45-year-old Darlene Kunayak, they want to encourage the public to call 911 if they see someone in a possible overdose situation. APD believes Kunayak died of a heroin overdose on May 7. Autopsy results showed no signs of foul […]

  • News

    Top command change coming to JBER

    by Bonney Bowman on Jun 27, 21:33

    In just two weeks, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson will have a new commander. Col. Brian Bruckbauer’s two-year post is coming to an end. He called Alaska a “dream assignment” and said leaving will be bittersweet for him and his family. As the so-called “Mayor of JBER”, Bruckbauer said when he first arrived in Alaska, handling the […]