Copper Basin 300 sled-dog race cancelled

Beth Bragg

The Copper Basin 300 sled-dog race, halted mid-race last winter because of too much snow, won't happen this winter because of not enough organizers.

The race announced the cancellation Thursday afternoon on its Facebook page.

"This race is too large for one person to do alone," the post said. "With that being said, since there is only 1 person on the board and 5 are required, there will be NO Copper Basin 300. Sorry for the inconvenience this will cause some, but hopefully more people will volunteer to be part of the board to get this race going again in the near future."

Attempts to reach race organizers were unsuccessful.

"I heard they had a hard time trying to get a Board of Directors," said Mark Nordman, race marshal for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. "It's tough. It takes so much time to put on one of these races."

The race is one of 13 qualifying events for the Iditarod, and its cancellation could impact some mushers who are trying to qualify for the 2014 Iditarod, Nordman said.

Iditarod rules require that before a musher can enter the race to Nome, he or she must complete either the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest or any combination of three mid-distance races that adds up to 750 miles, including two that are at least 300 miles long.

The Copper Basin is a popular qualifier because it is one of the few 300-mile races on the road system. The only other races of 300-plus miles on Alaska's road system are the Northern Lights 300 and the Don Bowers 300, a pair of Valley races scheduled for the same weekend.

January would have marked the 23rd anniversary of the race that bills itself as the toughest 300 miles in dog racing. Past champs include some of the sport's biggest names -- Susan Butcher, Lance Mackey, Jeff King and Martin Buser among them.

Last year's event was cancelled 75 miles into the race when heavy snow and high winds made the trail impassable. It was the second cancellation in race history -- the 1996 race was cancelled in progress when temperatures reached minus-60.

The race issued a call for help in an Aug. 3 Facebook posting, and again in a Sept. 29 posting. Prominently displayed on the race's website is another plea for help: "The Copper Basin 300 is in need of volunteers. If you would like to help out please drop us an email."

A directory of officials on the race's website lists a race marshal, race manager, race judges, race central and trail boss. Each position is followed by the word "vacant."


Reach Beth Bragg at or 257-4335.