Lack of snow forces cancellation of Tustumena 200 sled dog race for second consecutive year


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KENAI, Alaska — The Tustumena 200 sled dog race was canceled for the second consecutive year because of a lack of snow in the Kenai Peninsula.

The 200-mile race was already postponed from its original Feb. 7 start date to Feb. 21. Race board members made the decision Thursday night to cancel the race this year, the Peninsula Clarion ( reported.

At least 50 teams had registered for the race, which usually runs from Clam Gulch to Homer and back.

Even a snowfall Thursday wasn't enough to proceed with the event, race director Tami Murray said. "All possible options for a trail have been explored, and we just don't have the snow to make it happen," Murray said.

The seven-day forecasts calls for rain and temperatures in the mid-30s, so any new snow would "most certainly be gone" by Feb. 21, Murray said. Currently, there's minimum snow at lower sections of the trail, where there are ruts and exposed roots, she said.

It takes about a week to put in trails, said Murray, who noted that holding the race any later than Feb. 21 would put it too close to the start of the Iditarod Trail Sled dog race, which begins March 7 with a ceremonial start in Anchorage.

Low-=snow conditions also have forced the Iditarod restart to move to Fairbanks this year.

The Iditarod restart, the competitive part of the 1,000-mile mile race, usually takes place in Willow the day after the ceremonial start. Because the restart was moved to Fairbanks for the 2015 race, it will take place on March 9, a day later than usual.

Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion,

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