No snow, no go: T200 canceled

  • By IAN FOLEY
  • Thursday, February 12, 2015 10:06pm
  • News

For the second year in a row, the Tustumena 200 sled dog race has been canceled due to insufficient levels of snow.

The annual race covers 200 miles of trails in the Caribou Hills on the Kenai Peninsula, and attracts participants from all across Alaska and other parts of the world.

Last month, the race was postponed to Feb. 21 from its original Feb. 7 start date, in order to allow for more snow to accumulate. Because there hadn’t been enough snowfall, the decision to cancel the race was made by T200 board members on Thursday night.

Tami Murray, race director of the T200, said that even Thursday’s snowfall wasn’t enough to proceed with the race.

“All possible options for a trail have been explored and we just don’t have the snow to make it happen. With the seven-day forecast calling for mid-30s and rain, the snow we might get over the next few days will most certainly be gone by the 21st,” Murray said in a press release announcing the cancellation. “The lower sections of the trail have minimal snow with exposed roots and are ice rinks with monster ruts. We considered smaller teams but with no snow you can’t set a hook, you can’t even mark the trail.”

She said that race organizers looked at all options of how to put a trail in.

Murray said that several people were inspecting the trails throughout the day on Wednesday, trying to figure out how to have the race.

She said redesigning a course across the peninsula was difficult because there are hundreds of private landowners as well as several governmental agencies that the race organizers had to coordinate with.

Aside from the lack of snow, Murray said that four-wheelers have also made some trails worse.

Murray said that it takes about a week to put in the trails, and having the race any later that Feb. 21 would be impossible due to the close proximity of the Iditarod.

Murray said that many of the mushers had been hopeful of competing in the race. As of early January, 50 participants had registered for the event.

 

Reach Ian Foley at ian.foley@peninsulaclarion.com.

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