Winter weather delays Kobuk 440 start by a day

Sled teams on a wide snowy area
Sled dog teams lined up in Kotzebue for the mass start of the 2019 Kobuk 440. (Emily Hofstaedter/KNOM)

The Kobuk 440 Sled Dog Race is now set to start at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 2.

The last major race of the Alaska dog mushing season was originally supposed to start Thursday, but race officials say winter storms near Kotzebue hampered necessary travel of the mushers and other shipments.

The heavy blowing snow blew through Kotzebue all weekend, delaying and rerouting several Alaska Airlines flights from Anchorage. The current forecast calls for the blowing snow to calm down by Wednesday night.

There are currently 12 mushers signed up for the race, which routes from Kotzebue through several Northwest Arctic Borough villages. Locals Dempsey Woods and Kevin Hansen are joined by Iditarod favorites like Nic Petit and Jeff King, as well as 2019 champion Ryan Redington. The race purse is $60,000.

Last year’s Kobuk 440 was cancelled due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org.

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