The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is about a month and a half away. It’s exciting news for spectators, but many mushers are concerned as snow totals aren’t anywhere near ideal.
For race director Mark Nordman, one of the primary trail concerns is the Alaska Range.
“You know, we’re light on snow there so we’re looking, every week we’re taking flights up,” Nordman said. “I’m flying up next Tuesday to keep looking, monitoring the situation.”
As for starting the race in Fairbanks instead of Willow, that decision will need to be made by mid-February, Nordman said.
“You know, we’re accountable to our mushers and guys and gals preparing all their food drops, everything that they need. If we did have to go to a Plan B, as we’re calling it, that is a difference in preparation,” he said. “So we need to go ahead and give them time to do that and prepare their trip to Nome.”
Although changing up the course is not ideal, Nordman says the mushers know what they’re getting into.
“These are probably some of the most adaptable people I know,” he said. “It’s something that you prepare for.”
So far, the 2015 Iditarod is on track to start in Willow, with the ceremonial race start scheduled to take place at 4th Avenue and D Street in downtown Anchorage on Sunday, March 7 at 10 a.m.
Race officials with the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race are in a similar situation and are considering changing the route because of the unusually warm weather. That race starts Feb. 7 in Whitehorse.