For many Alaskans the unseasonably warm, dry climate is a welcome relief, but for the sled dog mushing community it is nothing but bad news.
The Knik 200 and The Don Bowers 300 are both cancelled due to warm temperatures and bad and unsafe trial conditions. Open water on the rivers and frozen exposed ground are both dangerous and unsafe for obvious and not so obvious reasons. Sled dogs get serious shoulder injuries when running downhill on frozen ground. A nice layer of snow provides a cushion for the dogs but when that cushion is not there it becomes a question of safety for the animals and mushers alike.
Without these races, it has become much more challenging, if not impossible to reach the required 750 mile race requirement to qualify for Iditarod 2014.
The cancellations of the Knik 200 and The Don Bowers 300 follow along with the cancellation of the Sheep Mountain 150 which was scheduled for the weekend of December 15th.