Snow shipped from Fairbanks for Iditarod start was never used

All that snow brought into Anchorage by train from Fairbanks for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start Saturday?

Anchorage City Manager Mike Abbott said Tuesday night none of it was used.

"It was a great gesture; we appreciated the spirit of it," Abbott said at Tuesday's Anchorage Assembly meeting. "It turns out it wasn't ultimately necessary."

City officials discovered rocks and other material in the snow when inspecting it last week, Abbott said. He said all of the ceremonial start snow came from snow dumps in north Anchorage.

The city didn't ask for the snow, Abbott noted — the Iditarod Trail Committee arranged for the seven railcars, or 350 cubic yards, of snow to be brought into Anchorage.

Abbott also said the extra snow wasn't needed. The ceremonial route was shortened from 11 miles to 3, he said, to accommodate the city's paltry snow reserves.

In an interview at the Assembly chambers, Abbott first said that he didn't know what happened to the Fairbanks snow. But after checking with city employees, he reported that the city brought snow to the city snow dump on Commercial Drive in Northeast Anchorage.


Iditarod officials said they didn't have to pay the Alaska Railroad for the snow haul.

Alaska Railroad spokesman Tim Sullivan, reached Tuesday night by phone, was surprised to hear the news. He said the snow came straight from the railroad's yard in Fairbanks, and the delivery came at a "minimal" cost.

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.