Iditarod Qualifier Expected to Test Teams

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The Copper Basin 300 usually sets the stage for the sled dog racing season, and this year’s competitors will see some changes.

The starting line will be in Paxson, about 70 miles north of Glennallen instead of at Lake Louise, as in the past. The race is a qualifier for the Iditarod, and in recent years, more and more ”well known” mushers have been signing up for the run.  The Copper Basin has drawn some big names in dog mushing this year.   Lance Mackey, Aily Zirlke, Sebastian Schnuelle, Ramey Smith, Mitch Seavey and Sonny Lindner will be competing in the race. Four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey says it’s a good race for testing dogs.

Mackey says rookie mushers will learn a lot by running the course.

Although the Copper Basin area is known for frigid winters, the area did not escape the recent warm spell that swept much of the state, although trail reports indicate a foot of new snow between Paxson and Chistochina.   Mackey says that should not be a hurdle for this year’s race.

The race is expected to end back at Paxson Lodge on Sunday.

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