It's official: Yukon Quest will proceed on schedule

Posted: Friday, January 17, 2003

WHITEHORSE (AP) -- The annual Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race will start in Whitehorse on Feb. 9 after all, the event's marketing manager said Wednesday.

Stephen Reynolds made the announcement after the race's international council decided during a Tuesday night meeting to proceed.

Last month, lack of snow and uncommonly warm temperatures prompted race officials to set Wednesday as the deadline for when the race could be canceled.

But conditions have improved. So this will be the 20th time the 1,000-mile race has been run between Whitehorse and Fairbanks.

Reports coming in about the trail are positive, Reynolds said.

''We all know, because we live in Whitehorse, that the river is still open, but river ice is freezing farther north,'' he said.

Snow has also fallen and the trail is improving, he said.

Although the only ice in the Yukon River in Whitehorse is along the shore, officials are continuing to plan for a downtown Whitehorse start.

''With the improvements we've seen in the last few weeks, we're very encouraged,'' Reynolds said. ''Obviously, we're hoping for more of that winter weather across the next few weeks.''

If a reroute of the race is needed, it would be announced in the first week of February. In past years, sections of the trail have had to be rerouted.

But for now, people can assume the race will run from downtown Whitehorse to downtown Fairbanks, Reynolds said.

Although a number of sponsors have come on board again for another year, sponsorship is about 30 per cent less than it was last year.

Reynolds said the Quest is negotiating with a number of other sponsors, but he declined to identify them until their support is confirmed.

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