• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 9s

Readying the Iditarod trails

By Heather Hintze 8:13 AM February 27, 2014

Crews use heavy equipment to grind up hard snow, keep trails safe for dog teams

ANCHORAGE – It takes a community effort to put on the Last Great Race; even more so this year with the lack of snow.

When Dave Cruz heard the Iditarod needed help to keep the race in Willow, he offered his heavy equipment to groom the trails.

“What event in Alaska do you know that garners over 1,000 volunteers that come together in March to put on this event here?” Cruz asked. “It is Alaska, the Iditarod, and it’s a great deal to participate in and it’s a lot of fun.”

Before sled dog teams can hit the trail to Nome for the Iditarod, his crews have to get to it first.

“Not having such a killer snow year, the equipment allows us to keep the trail in runnable, safe condition,” explained his son, Ben Cruz.

The groomer didn’t have to go at it alone.

“We’re basically doing the finished groom after the Snow Cat has run though and left rough areas. We can clean up anything he leaves,” said Bill Luth, trail boss for the Willow Trail Committee.

He rode a snow machine with a mini “Mogul Master” to pitch in with the work. Luth said he enjoys all the prep work it takes to get ready for the race.

“My biggest kick is now with these new four-stroke snowmobiles — that they’re quite enough — I’ll be out on the trails grooming and I’ll come up on dog mushers and you get to talk to them while you’re grooming trails now,” Luth said. “Never could do that before.”

The groomers are a game-changer. The Iditarod thought about moving the race to Fairbanks because of the lack of snow. Once it decided to keep the race in Willow, one option was to move the trail through the woods if the snow was too hard. With Cruz Construction’s help, the route will stay on its regular course.

“They want to keep it on the lake for the spectators which is really important ,” Luth said. “So we did get three inches of snow this week which did make a big difference on how much we’ve got right there.”

The team ensures the trails will be safe for the dog teams when they take off for the 1,000-mile trek.

The bulk of the work should be done by Thursday. Snowmachines will go out on Sunday a few hours before the restart to do some touch up work.

 

Latest Stories

  • Cougars make Bartlett feel at home with all-inclusive trip

    by Dave Goldman on May 22, 21:58

    They may compete on the field, but in the end, they’re one team. It showed more than ever on senior night. At a recent game while honoring their own, the Service High School girls soccer team also graciously extended a warm welcome to their opponent, Bartlett. But this was nothing new and is four years […]

  • News

    ‘Just get help’: Family of woman killed in boyfriend’s apparent suicide attempt speaks out

    by Daniella Rivera on May 22, 21:52

    It’s been 33 days since 22-year-old Brittany-Mae Haag’s family learned they’ll never see her again. “[Police said] that it was a shot from Victor Sibson, that he shot my daughter,” said Sheila Lopez, Haag’s mother. Lopez spent the majority of the month since her daughter died thinking Haag’s boyfriend of six years, 21-year-old Victor Sibson, killed her […]

  • APD investigating Government Hill shooting

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 22, 21:30

    Anchorage Police say they’re investigating shooting in the Government Hill area. Late-Monday evening, officers were called to the parking lot of a Subway at Hollywood and Vine where they were seen taking photographs of a yellow vehicle. KTVA’s reporter on scene says blood could be seen in the parking lot near the vehicle. After it […]

  • News

    Hiland Mountain plant sale starts Tuesday

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 22, 20:21

    The plant sale at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center is an event that some people wait all year for. Not just the people who come to buy beautiful hanging baskets but the inmates who grow them, as well. The sale has been going on for at least 20 years, according to Superintendent Gloria Johnson. Most of […]

  • Politics

    Alaska House approves measure limiting opioid prescriptions

    by Liz Raines on May 22, 20:14

    On Monday, the Alaska House passed a bill to limit initial opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply. House Bill 159 is part of a push from Governor Bill Walker’s administration to address the state’s growing opioid epidemic, which Walker declared a disaster in February. While members of the House spent nearly four hours debating the […]

  • Politics

    Sullivan’s town hall highlights senators’ difference on Planned Parenthood funding

    by Heather Hintze on May 22, 20:07

    Senator Dan Sullivan’s (R-Alaska) town hall in Anchorage over the weekend highlighted how he and fellow republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) differ on funding for Planned Parenthood. He discussed a variety of topics from fighting opioid abuse to diversifying our economy, but it was the topic of healthcare that really got the crowd engaged. “My […]

  • Weather

    Record rainfall recorded across SE Alaska

    by Melissa Frey on May 22, 17:18

    Significant rain fell across most of Southcentral and Southeast Alaska this weekend as a storm system moved in from the Gulf of Alaska. For Southcentral, this was the wettest day seen in months. Anchorage picked up 0.25 inches of rain on Sunday alone. This was the most rain recorded in Anchorage since late-September of 2016. […]

  • News

    Search underway for 2 overdue boaters

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 22, 17:13

    Late Monday morning, a search began for two overdue boaters in Togiak. The Togiak Village Public Safety Officer contacted Alaska State Police around 11:15 Monday morning to report two overdue boaters. Troopers say Simeon Wassillie and Stephanie Poulsen, both 25, left the village on Saturday in an 18-foot, blue, open hull, 35hp boat and were […]