• 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

    Former Wasilla mayor appointed to fisheries commission

    by Associated Press on Jan 29, 11:24

    A former Wasilla mayor will help regulate participation in Alaska’s commercial fisheries. Grace Jang, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bill Walker, said Verne Rupright was appointed to the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission Jan. 20. The three-member body decides who can participate in limited entry fisheries and adjudicates appeals. Jang wrote in an email that Rupright was […]

  • Politics

    Murkowski takes first stab at Obama’s ANWR proposal

    by Hope Miller on Jan 29, 11:10

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski made her first countermove to the Obama administration’s controversial Arctic conservation proposal Wednesday. The U.S. Senate shot down her amendment that would have put time limits on when Congress must designate wilderness study areas. It received 50 “yes” votes and needed 60 to pass — a three-fifths majority. The Keystone pipeline bill […]

  • Politics

    Lawmakers prepare to take on President Obama

    by Rhonda McBride on Jan 29, 10:09

    State lawmakers are gearing up for a fight against the president of the United States. Rep. Ben Nageak of Barrow introduced House Joint Resolution 10 to formally protest the Obama administration’s actions this week to put the brakes on Arctic development. On Sunday, the president proposed designating an additional 12 million acres in the Arctic […]

  • News

    Shell plans to resume drilling in Chukchi Sea this year

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 29, 8:53

    Shell plans to restart oil drilling in the Arctic this year, the company’s CEO announced Thursday. In a conference call in London, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said Shell wants to start drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer, Reuters reported. In 2013, Shell halted its drilling program in Alaska after the grounding of drill rig […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Jan. 29

    by Brett Shepard on Jan 29, 7:54

    Increasing cloudiness today with snow for the Prince William Sound and eastern Kenai Peninsula. We could see 1-2 inches of snow in Anchorage tonight. In the Southeast most of the rain and snow will come to an end by the afternoon. In the Interior it will be another sunny and cold day with patchy ice […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage police: 1 confirmed dead in Russian Jack shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 29, 1:02

    One person has been confirmed dead after an early Thursday morning shooting in the Russian Jack neighborhood — an apparent homicide, police say. The Anchorage Police Department responded to the report of a shooting near the intersection of Bragaw Street and San Jeronimo Court at around 12:30 a.m. When they arrived they found a deceased […]

  • News

    JBER: active-shooter drill will cause gate closures, loud noises

    by Shannon Kemp on Jan 28, 23:09

    An active-shooter drill will be held at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson starting Thursday, base officials say. Starting at 7 a.m. on Thursday, the drill will test the ability of base personnel to respond to a situation similar to those faced by the victims of the Ft. Hood shooting near Killeen, Texas on Nov. 5, 2009, during […]

  • News

    Event for Anchorage’s homeless connects hundreds to resources

    by Shannon Ballard on Jan 28, 22:32

    A major humanitarian event called Project Homeless Connect worked to help nearly 800 people take steps towards permanent housing in Anchorage today. James Guisgetti was one of those people. He says he has been in and out of homes for 10 years. “I lost my job and therefore I couldn’t pay my rent,” said Guisgetti. “I […]