Thousands of pounds of snow shipped to Alaska for Iditarod dog sled race

by: Katie Link Updated:

Iditarod musher Jeff King, from Denali, Alaska, is the first musher to leave the White Mountain checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen)
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Anchorage, Alaska - Officials in Anchorage, Alaska, have combated an unusually low amount of snowfall with an effective solution. 

Seven rail cars packed full of snow arrived in Anchorage on Thursday morning ahead of the annual Iditarod dog sled competition. Those seven rail cars of snow are in addition to the 1,000 truckloads already gathered.

Unseasonably warm temperatures forced event organizers to outsource for their snow this year — a cost that is budgeted as a part of regular street maintenance in the city.

While many U.S. states pay for the removal of snow from city streets, Alaska allocates some of a $60,000 budget to bringing in snow ahead of dog races. 

The famous Iditarod competition is a tradition that dates back more than 40 years. It brings hundreds of dogs and people to the ceremonial starting line. 

This year, race leaders had to shorten the starting leg of the race from 11 miles to three miles because of a lack of snow, but organizers are confident spectators won’t be able to tell the difference.

One race organizer told NBC, “race fans concentrated in downtown Anchorage will not notice any changes to the race start as the excitement of having more than 1,000 of the most finely tuned sled dogs in the world will, as always, make for an electric environment.”

The 1,100-mile race kicks off Saturday morning.