Iron Dog snowmachine race cancels Anchorage ceremonial start

The Iron Dog snowmachine race announced Friday that it's canceling its ceremonial start in Anchorage, citing the cost and complexity of the event.

Instead, the 35th annual race will rev up at Big Lake on Sunday, Feb. 18.

"The downtown start was a fantastic addition to our race, but it was simply too expensive and complex to continue," Jim Wilkie, the president of the Iron Dog's board of directors, said in an announcement posted on the race's website.

Wilkie could not immediately be reached for comment. Susan Duck, who was hired as the Iron Dog executive director in August, said on her Twitter account that she resigned from that position Thursday.

The ceremonial start on Fourth Avenue began in 2015 as a way to increase exposure for the race, but it never attracted the kind of crowd the Iditarod typically draws for its ceremonial start a couple of weeks later.

The 2,000-mile race goes from Big Lake to Nome to Fairbanks. When Anchorage was added to the mix, it included a freestyle snowmachine exhibitions Friday and Saturday and a safety-and-tech expo.

Wilkie said in the press release that a revised schedule for the race's related events will be released soon.

Beth Bragg

Beth Bragg wrote about sports and other topics for the ADN for more than 35 years, much of it as sports editor. She retired in October 2021. She's contributing coverage of Alaskans involved in the 2022 Winter Olympics.