CONCONULLY This year’s 11th Super Mush Sled Dog Races were canceled over the weekend after snow failed to materialize on the race route.
“There is just nothing there,” organizer Linda Pierce said of snow at Peacock Meadows. “We have a lack of snow. It’s just sad we are not having the race.”
The six-dog team races were slated for Jan. 24-26, with the first day set aside for vet checks and a dinner followed by two days of racing. Normally the course begins at Peacock Meadows near town.
Pierce had been holding out that a predicted storm could drop enough snow for the races. Instead, it brought rain and warmer temperatures.
“I don’t know how we are doing way up, I can’t get there,” she said of higher elevations. “There is no way to access the trails at this point.”
The rain “crystallized” the snow and allowed grass and pavement to show through at the meadows.
“It’s not a good situation for sleds to get up there,” she said.
The races, which draw competitors from Iditarod veterans to beginners, have been rescheduled for Jan. 23-25 next year.
Pierce, who said there were no races scheduled for the rest of the month in Oregon or Washington, is heading to Darby, Mont., this weekend for a race.
She will return for the Boundary Sled Dog Classic in Grand Forks, B.C.
“They (Grand Forks) say on Facebook they have snow and it’s groomed,” she said. “There seems to be a curtain along the border for snow. Two hours north of us they have snow.
“There are not a lot of races going on in the Northwest,” she said.
The Conconully race was the only race in Washington and Oregon planned for the rest of this month.
This year’s race was shaping up to be one of the best, with many sponsors signed, Pierce said.
The town traditionally houses racers and their crews, along with spectators. Liars Cove annually cleans snow off RV pads for racers. Some private residences were available for housing, too.
Pierce notified disappointed mushers Sunday, using a posting to Facebook.
“That’s the benefit of social media, people have immediate notification,” she said. “They are able to follow in real time, essentially. Before, we had to call everyone.”
The race was canceled for the first time ever in 2009 due to adverse snow conditions along the course.
An effort to start the race at a higher elevation evaporated with temperatures of 60 degrees that year, the 2009 organizer Linda Hamilton said.