• 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

  • Halfway house walkaways decrease significantly but remain a problem

    by Daniella Rivera on May 25, 21:56

    Before Howard Watson, 32, got into a confrontation with Anchorage Police that sent him to the hospital with critical injuries Thursday, he was was already a wanted man. In a Nixle alert sent out Monday, APD said he left the Glenwood Center halfway house with permission to go to work. He showed up at his […]

  • News

    Memorial Day weekend events in Southcentral Alaska

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 25, 20:18

    Memorial Day Weekend – May 26, 2017 – May 29, 2017 4th Avenue Theatre’s 70th Anniversary Saturday, May 27 Street Fair on 4th Avenue between F and G Streets 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Entertainers on the 4th Avenue stage Anchorage Jazz Ensemble, The Blue Notes, Reading of 4th Avenue Theatre memories 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. […]

  • News

    Mothers of four young men killed by gun violence make plea in viral video

    by Shannon Ballard on May 25, 19:50

    The faces of four Alaska mothers are spreading rapidly across social media The women all have different stories to share, but they’ve come together because of what they have in common: each has recently lost a son to gun violence. Aleaka Tate’s says a video posted to her Facebook page was created to encourage a […]

  • News

    RVs a growing business for Alaska, big bucks for Anchorage

    by Dave Leval on May 25, 19:37

    The Norbert Family of Eagle River will get out of town for the Memorial Day, and for the first time, they will do so in style. “We have always wanted to rent an RV, and my son’s birthday is this weekend, so, we were excited to go out and explore Alaska,” said Lisa Norbert. The […]

  • News

    Delta offers seasonal flights to Capitol city; Juneauites hope to keep competition

    by Liz Raines on May 25, 19:29

    It’s been one week since Delta Airlines started offering daily flights between Juneau and Seattle– breaking the Alaska Airlines monopoly– at least for the summer. Over the years, the capital city’s small population and harsh weather conditions have made it hard for companies to compete in Juneau’s skies. For year-round service between big cities and […]

  • Shots fired, suspect dead in Fairbanks pursuit

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 25, 17:15

    A man died Thursday afternoon after leading law enforcement on a pursuit that ended in shots fired in Fairbanks. Around 3:15, Alaska State Troopers in Fairbanks saw a known individual who has warrants and attempted to initiate a traffic stop on Old Richardson Highway but the suspect did not pull over, according to troopers. Fairbanks Police […]

  • Oregon, California governors seek salmon disaster aid

    by Associated Press on May 25, 15:37

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and California Gov. Jerry Brown are seeking a federal disaster declaration to help salmon fishermen enduring a second bad year in a row. A record-low number of fall-run Chinook salmon returning to the Klamath River has led to fisheries restrictions, including the cancellation of the season along […]

  • News

    NTSB investigating helicopter accident on Herbert Glacier

    by Associated Press on May 25, 15:32

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a helicopter crash on a southeast Alaska glacier that resulted in minor injuries. Clint Johnson, NTSB’s regional aviation chief in Anchorage, says investigators are working with Coastal Helicopters to determine what happened. Coastal Helicopters, which offers a Juneau Icefield excursion, has said its helicopter […]