After landing in Anchorage early this week, Handler said, “The real deal of NO SNOW is staring me right in the face. There’s no snow!” It’s been warm and it’s even rained so that lakes aren’t looking too solidly frozen either. Driving north to Wasilla doesn’t improve the situation. She even heard someone comment, “Our winter is over.” Sure looks like it from this picture of Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla. Having just departed Wisconsin with many days of subzero temps, serious wind chill, moderate snow cover and a couple of feet of frozen ice on our lakes she says it sure looks and feels like spring in the 49th state.
Iditarod announced on February 10th that their start would be moved to Fairbanks. The Junior Iditarod announced a little later that the younger mushers would be starting their 150-mile round trip trek on Willow Lake rather than Knik Lake. Then on February 24th, after more unseasonable weather, the Junior Iditarod Board of Directors announced a move further north.
The race start for the 14-17 year old mushers will be near Cantwell. They’ll travel along the Denali Highway approximately 65 miles east to Alpine Creek Lodge. They’ll camp and take their mandatory 10-hour rest along with differential and then return to Cantwell.