The Sheep Mountain 150, the season’s first sled-dog race of significance, was canceled Sunday evening due to a lack of snow.
“There is not enough snow to safely support 45 teams around the entire course,” said Race Director Zack Steer in a statement.
The race was to be held this Saturday and Sunday at the Sheep Mountain Lodge in the Talkeetna Mountains in Sutton, Alaska, approximately 50 miles northeast of Anchorage.
The region has seen less snowfall than usual recently. Normal levels for nearby Anchorage are 23 inches for the season, but only 15.9 inches has been reported thus far.
The upcoming forecast was no help to the mushers. AccuWeather.com is forecasting mainly clear skies over the course of this week with no major snowfall expected for the region.
As recently as last week, Steer had expressed optimism at gomush.com for the race to commence after the lodge saw 14 inches of accumulation on Tuesday. However, by Sunday he was “surprised to see that most of the snow had blown away.”
The Sheep Mountain 150 was to feature many veterans of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, including three-time defending champion Lance Mackey. The race is considered a tune-up by many mushers for the Iditarod with a first-place prize of $1,750.