The wackiness of this winter continued Thursday with this news:
Alaska's golf season will open the day before the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race starts.
Palmer Golf Course will open seven holes at 11 a.m. Friday, less than 24 hours before the Iditarod's ceremonial start 40 miles to the south in Anchorage, where dogs will race on snow shipped in from Fairbanks.
Palmer traditionally is the first course to open in Anchorage and the Valley but opening day historically happens in mid-April, said George Collum, director of golf at the Palmer course.
Last year, Palmer marked its earliest sustained opening in history. The course opened on March 21 and didn't close until the end of the season.
"We've been open in January and February before, but only for a day or two," Collum said. "If we stay open, it'll be quite the record.
"If the weather keeps going, we could open all 18 holes next week."
For now, holes 1-4 and 16-18 will be open, each with regulation greens. The $10 daily greens fee allows golfers to play as many holes as they want throughout the day. No carts are allowed, and the driving range won't be open.
"There's a little standing water on the 1st and 16th holes, but nothing they can't play around," Collum said.
Golfers should anticipate low temperatures. Collum said it was 20 degrees Thursday at 8 a.m. but above freezing by noon.
Golfers should also call the clubhouse – 907-745-4653 – to check on conditions before heading to Palmer.