Warming Alters Sled Dog Race

Too little snow, too much development move Iditarod start north
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2008 7:48 PM CST
Children watch Ramy Brooks take booties off his dogs after he arrived in the Yukon River checkpoint of Anvik, Alaska, on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on March 9, 2007. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Global warming and development are impinging on the world’s most famous dogsled race and forcing it to make route changes, the AP reports. Organizers of Alaska’s Iditarod say the 1,100-mile race's ceremonial starting route will shrink from 18 to 11 miles, and the competitive start will be moved 30 miles north.

The ceremonial start had been forced to truck in snow in recent years, and the competitive start was moved because it also faced "less-than-winter conditions," one official said. The formal change reflects the fact that the competitive launch has not taken place in Wasilla, where the race is headquartered, for the past five years because of increased development and lack of snow.