Iditarod 2012 is set to start up this weekend, with the ceremonial start Saturday and the restart in Willow on Sunday, and mushers should see some pretty good conditions over the first couple days of the race.
Erin McLarnon, the Iditarod Trail Committee’s communications director, says that right now, the snow is immaculate over the early parts of the course…and there is a lot of it, with Willow receiving over 10 feet so far and over 15 feet at Yentna station.
“You know, I’m a dog musher and I just traveled those trails here a couple of weeks ago, and this is the best condition that I have seen the Big Su and the Yentna River in in many years. It’s just a wide super-highway,” McLarnon said.
At Wednesday’s media briefing, race marshal Mark Nordman said this year’s would likely be a working dogs race, but McLarnon says that anymore, almost all of the teams are what could be called working dogs.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s deep snow, hard packed snow, you know, these dogs are just geared for speed and they’re just so well-conditioned and -fed and -cared for that right now we don’t see the conditions making this race a very slow race out there unless we get some big type of weather pattern that moves in and just dumps lots of snow, which we don’t suspect right now,” McLarnon said.
This year’s field features 66 mushers. A couple notable numbers to keep an eye on are: Ray Redington Jr’s number 2, Jeff King’s 10, DeeDee Jonrowe’s 17, Lance Mackey’s 18, Martin Buser’s 41 and Dan Seavey’s 65.