Lack of snow shortens Iditarod start from 11 to 3 miles

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A lack of snow in Alaska’s largest city has led the world’s most famous sled dog race to shorten its ceremonial start this weekend.

Pete Kaiser in the 2015 Iditarod ceremonial start. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)
Pete Kaiser in last year’s 2015 Iditarod ceremonial start. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage)

The Iditarod Trail Committee said in a news release Wednesday that the route will be reduced to 3 miles from its normal 11 miles on Anchorage streets and trails.

Persistent warm temperatures the last few weeks have melted much of the snow, including stockpiles the city tried to set aside for Saturday’s fan-friendly event.

The Alaska Railroad is bringing seven freight cars filled with snow hundreds of miles from Fairbanks to ensure there’s enough of it on the streets.

The official start to the 1,000-mile race will be Sunday in Willow, about 50 miles north of Anchorage.