Sunday's rain may have saved the Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship sled dog race.
The race is a go, officials decided Sunday after an afternoon inspection of trails, said John Rasmussen of the Alaskan Sled Dog & Racing Association.
The Feb. 22-24 sprint race, the centerpiece of the city's annual winter festival, was in jeopardy because of marginal snow. The race was first held in 1946 and has been cancelled five times because of poor trail conditions, including four times in the last 17 years
ASDRA and Fur Rondy officials set Sunday as the deadline for deciding whether to call off the race.
The day began with rain, which in theory was the last thing needed but in reality may have been fortuitous.
"The rain did not hurt us and it actually did us some good," Rasmussen said.
The snow was dry, he said, and the rain allowed it to firm up. "The rain made it better," he said.
That, combined with some new snow earlier in the week, persuaded ASDRA's board of directors to go forward with plans for the Feb. 22-24 sprint race. "We'll make the decision of exactly what route to take later," Rasmussen said.
He said cool weather is needed for conditions to hold up, and of course more snow wouldn't hurt.
The plan for now is for 25-mile heats each day, although Rondy officials said last month they would stage a shorter, ceremonial race rather than have a Rondy without dogs. In a letter
Other than some junior races, all of this season's races scheduled for Tozier Track have been cancelled due to poor trail conditions. The Chugiak Dog Mushers Association has also had to cancel most of its races.
Rasmussen said the board decided Sunday to also go forward with the three-day Raven Electric 10-dog championship sprint race and the three-day Fur Rendezvous Junior World Championship, both of which are scheduled for Feb. 15-17.
So far 17 mushers have signed up for Fur Rondy, which has a $70,000 purse.
Reach Beth Bragg at email@example.com or 257-4335.
By BETH BRAGG
Anchorage Daily News