FAIRBANKS, Alaska – The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race’s competitive starting point could move hundreds of miles north to Fairbanks because of poor trail conditions.
Race officials told mushers Friday the conditions in the Alaska Range, which has less snow than normal, may force the 1,000-mile race to start in Fairbanks instead of Willow, which is about 50 miles north of Anchorage.
Race officials said a decision on the starting point will be made on Feb. 17.
“We do have trail concerns from the top of Rainy Pass to Nikolai,” Iditarod race manager Mark Nordman wrote in an email. “Because of these concerns, a contingency plan will be used if the Alaska Range conditions are not acceptable.”
The ceremonial kickoff is scheduled for March 1 in Anchorage and the official start is set for the next day in Willow. If the race moves to Fairbanks, the competitive start would move to March 3 to give mushers time to drive 360 miles north.