The Latest: Board decides to start Iditarod near Anchorage

AP News
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Posted: Feb 12, 2016 3:11 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the start location of this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

Organizers have decided that a lack of snow in the Anchorage area won't force a route change for this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

The decision was made Friday by the race board of directors.

The start of the race will be staged as usual in Willow, about 50 miles north of Anchorage. The board had considered moving it further north over the Alaska Range to Fairbanks for the second straight year.

The race is scheduled to start March 6.

The race's top officer, Stan Hooley, says there is not much snow in Willow, but it dramatically improves after leaving town.

Hooley also said there will be enough snow in Anchorage to stage the fan-friendly ceremonial start as planned on March 5.

Anchorage is hovering near a record low snowfall for the second straight year.

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7:50 a.m.

Officials with the world's most famous sled dog race will decide Friday if a lack of snow in the Anchorage area will force the starting line to be moved north to Fairbanks for the second straight year.

The Iditarod's top officer, Stan Hooley, told The Associated Press that staff will recommend to the race board that the start on March 6 should remain in Willow, just north of Anchorage.

He says snow in places such as Dalzell Gorge and Farewell Burn, areas near Willow where mushers have been injured because of a lack of snow in recent years, has the best snow in at least 15 years.

Hooley, however, is worried about not having enough snow to truck in for the ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage on March 5. Anchorage is hovering near record low snowfall for the second year.

A decision on the ceremonial start will be made in the coming weeks.