• 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

  • Weather

    Weekend weather, Dec. 21

    by KTVA Weather on Dec 21, 18:54

    We saw a little snow today across Anchorage. More isolated snowfall is in store for tonight. As we head into Christmas week, stay tuned for another system to track in on Christmas Day, giving us a chance of more snowfall activity. Highs all week long will remain in the mid- to -lower-20s.

  • Crime

    Soldotna woman with 3 kids in car arrested for DUI

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 21, 18:13

    A woman is in custody after she was pulled over Saturday night on the Kenai Spur Highway for driving impaired with children in the vehicle. At about 9 p.m., the Alaska Bureau of Highway Patrol responded to a REDDI report of “an intoxicated motorist with children in the car,” according to an online AST dispatch posted […]

  • Crime

    1 injured in downtown Anchorage shooting near PlayHouse bar

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 21, 13:49

    One person was injured in a shooting in downtown Anchorage early Sunday morning. At about 2:15 a.m., officers were called to a shooting in the area of 420 W. Third Ave., according to a statement from the Anchorage Police Department. The incident occurred near the PlayHouse bar, APD spokeswoman Anita Shell said in an email. At […]

  • News

    2 vehicles sink on Chena River ice stretch

    by Associated Press on Dec 21, 13:06

    At least two vehicles recently sank into the Chena River on a section long used as an ice-covered shortcut between Airport Way and Chena Small Tracts Road. Bob Weaver, the owner of Ron’s Towing, said a rented SUV driven by an out-of-state motorist sank Dec. 15 after making a left turn onto the river from […]

  • Sports

    Iditarod Trail Committee names Philip Esai 2015 Honorary Musher

    by KTVA Sports on Dec 21, 12:41

    The Iditarod Trail Committee has bestowed an honor on one of its most dedicated volunteers. Philip Esai, who passed away earlier this year, has been named the 2015 Honorary Musher. Each year, the committee honors one or more people who have made a significant contribution to the sport of sled dog racing. Esai and his […]

  • Crime

    2 arrested in connection with $30K stolen from Alaska fish hatchery

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 20, 18:39

    Two Palmer men are in custody in connection with a burglary that occurred at an Alaskan fish hatchery last month. On Nov. 8, Alaska State Troopers were notified that $30,000 worth of steel, aluminum and copper had been stolen from the Eklutna Tailrace fish hatchery. The suspects also caused approximately $30,000 worth of damage by “cutting through walls […]

  • News

    Last call to get Christmas gifts in the mail

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 20, 17:07

    The Saturday before Christmas is one of the busiest mailing days of the year — and for good reason. If gifters want to make sure their cards, presents and parcels arrive by Dec. 25, the deadline to send mail first-class or priority is today. “With our transportation network that we have, a lot of our priority […]

  • News

    Anchorage libraries get new self-checkout machines

    by Sierra Starks, Shannon Ballard on Dec 20, 16:24

    Anchorage Public Library is unveiling a new addition to its branch locations. Libraries around Anchorage debuted new self-service checkout machines last week. Z. J. Loussac Public Library launched their new machines Friday. On Saturday, library-goers could be seen testing out the touchscreen feature, returning books and DVDs and checking their account balances. Stacia McGourty, a reference and […]