FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A musher from Canada’s Yukon Territory has drawn the first position in the start of the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.
Normand Casavant of Whitehorse selected the No. 1 spot from a bunny boot during the Yukon Quest start banquet Thursday in Fairbanks.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://is.gd/ASQ3y6) says Casavant considers the position a good omen.
He picked the seventh position last year and finished seventh. In 2012, he picked the 10th position and finished in 10th place.
In the small race field of 18, Ontario musher Hank DeBruin claimed the No. 18 spot.
The race begins Saturday in Fairbanks.
Quest mushers say they expect a fast trail. Freezing rain on top of heavy snow has left trails icy and hard.
That means there's also the potential for spectacular crashes if mushers lose control of their teams.
Fairbanks musher Tony Angelo says one challenge may be to slow dogs down for what looks to be a fast track in warm conditions.
High temperatures forced changes at the start and finish of the race.
The start had to be moved off the Chena River because of open water. The start will be in downtown Fairbanks.
Thin ice on the Yukon River means the race will end 18 miles to the north of Whitehorse at Takhini Hot Springs.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com