Iron Dog race struggles with too much snow

Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- While some Alaska mushing races have been canceled for lack of snow, the state's best-known snowmobile race is struggling with too much.

Trailbreakers for the Tesoro Iron Dog were bogged down this week in about 15 feet of snow south of Rainy Pass near Finger Lake on the south slope of the Alaska Range, said race spokeswoman Harriett Fenerty.

She was dispatching reinforcements north from Wasilla on wide-tracked snowmachines to help set a trail for the snowmobile race that begins Feb. 18.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race follows on March 3.

Snowmobiler Ken Lee reported from Finger Lake that the going was as tough as he'd ever seen, Fenerty said. Lee was able to break only two miles of trail in four hours on Monday.

At that rate, it could take days to make it to Puntilla Lake at the entrance to Rainy Pass.

But once the trailbreakers get there, Fenerty said, everything changes. Most of the snow has been blown out of the pass, she said.

On the north side of the range, she said, there is a foot or less all the way to the Yukon River, which could mean a rough ride for both snowmobilers and mushers.

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