Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race Officials are keeping a close eye on the weather and trail conditions as they prepare for the starts of the 1000 mile race this Saturday.
With temperatures well above normal and not much snow in the forecast, there’s been plenty of speculation about trail conditions for the upcoming Yukon Quest.
“There have been absolutely no discussions to cancel or delay the race. Nor are any planned. The race will start on February 1st,” Race Marshal Doug Grilliot said in a statement on the race organization’s website.
Temperatures are forecasted to drop slightly by the end of the week. Race Manager Alex Olesen says trail breakers are still working on both the Alaska and Canadian sides of the trail.
“It’s soupy, it’s soupy everywhere right now,” Olesen said. “We’re just hoping it locks up enough with this cold weather coming that it isn’t soaking wet the whole way. But it’s going to be a lot of wet or hard ice. It will be just trenches through slush.”
Olesen says the trail isn’t the only concern. The organization is dealing with drop bags filled with perishable meat and food as well. “We had all of our food drops in a conex [trailer]. It actually went well,” he says. “The warmest they got was 28 degrees and then we put them in a refrigerated unit and set it to 15 below to keep them as cold as we could.”
Officials say the race could be re-routed. That has happened in the past, most recently last year when a lack of snow and icy conditions kept teams off of American summit outside of Eagle.