Mushing season starts today

The mid-distance mushing season kicks off today with a pair of races -- the Sheep Mountain 150 and the Alaska Excursion 120.

A field of 47 that includes past Iditarod champions Jeff King and Mitch Seavey is signed up for the Sheep Mountain 150, which begins today at noon at Sheep Mountain Lodge, mile 113.5 of the Glenn Highway.

The 150-mile race consists of three legs of 50 miles, with a mandatory five-hour layover at Eureka Lodge after the first and second legs.

Zack Steer of Sheep Mountain Lodge reported Friday on Facebook that trail conditions are good and there's plenty of snow. "Lots of animal sign on the trail, including fresh lynx, wolf, coyote, moose, and fox tracks. Even a few porcupine tracks that could cause trouble for an unlucky musher," he wrote.

The race should end sometime Sunday afternoon.

Good trail conditions are also expected for the Alaska Excursion 120, whose field of 27 includes Buddy Streeper, one of the world's best sprint dog drivers, and Cim Smyth.

Mushers will race 40 miles each day. Racing begins at 10 a.m. today and Sunday at the Aurora Dog Mushers Clubhouse near Big Lake.