Finally some snow for Iditarod mushers

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

42 PHOTOS
Iditarod in recent years -- 2009-2015
See Gallery
Finally some snow for Iditarod mushers
Willow Alaska musher Dee Dee Jonrowe at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Lev Shvarts and his team of Siberian Huskies at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Norwegian rookie Thomas Waemer's at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Crowd favorite Tok Alaska musher Hugh Neff at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
French rookie Isabelle Travadon at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Chatanika, Alaska musher Jodi Bailey at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Kasilof Alaska musher Anna Berington at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
2004 Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Musher Wade Marrs of Wasillal, Alaska, leads his team Saturday, March 7, 2015, during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska. The official start is Monday in Fairbanks, where the race was moved because of a lack of snow to the south. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)
Veteran musher Rick Casillo at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Katherine Keith, from Kotzebue, Alaska, at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Norweigian musher Joar Leifseth Ulsom at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Willow Alaska musher Lisbet Norris and her Siberian Huskies at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Yukon Quest and four time Iditarod champion Jeff King of Denali Park Alaska at the start of the 2015 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, 09 March, 2015. Photo: Scott Chesney/dpa
Musher Monica Zappa of Kasilof, Alaska, leads her team past spectators Saturday, March 7, 2015, during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska. The official start is Monday in Fairbanks, where the race was moved because of a lack of snow to the south. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)
Excited dogs in the team for musher Cindy Abbott, of Irvine, Calif.,, jump and bark as they await their turn to move to the starting gate during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, March 7, 2015. The competitive start will be held March 9, 2015, in Fairbanks, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Musher Laura Allaway of Fairbanks, Alaska, leads her team past a crowd Saturday, March 7, 2015, during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage. The official start is Monday in Fairbanks, where the race was moved because of a lack of snow to the south. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)
FILE - In this March 13, 2013 file photo, Musher Michelle Phillips of Tagish, Yukon Territory, Canada, makes the final push in the Iditarod, on the Bering Sea for the finish line outside Nome, Alaska. Warm weather during much of the winter across Alaska nearly prompted officials at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to move the start to Fairbanks for the first time in a decade. But temperatures have dropped, and the 42nd running of the race across Alaska will start just as normal this weekend in Anchorage. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
Dogs wait to run in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Sunday, March 3, 2013, in Willow, Alaska. 65 teams will be making their way through punishing wilderness toward the finish line in Nome on Alaska's western coast 1,000 miles away. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)
Ice hangs off the mustache of Robert Sorlie, from Hurdal, Norway, after he finished the nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska, on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Sorlie, a two-time champion, finished 21st in this year's race. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2014, file photo, Iditarod Race Director Mark Nordman gestures during a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska. The Iditarod announced a 20-mile stretch of treacherous trail from last year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, in which several mushers were hurt, had been improved between the checkpoints in Rohn and Farewell, Alaska. A lack of snow in south central Alaska and uncertain weather in the next month is again pushing organizers of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to ponder moving the start of the race from Willow to Fairbanks. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
Defending champion Dallas Seavey takes off Saturday, March 2, 2013, in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, for the ceremonial start of the 2013 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The race, which will take mushers and dog teams about a thousand miles across the Alaska wilderness, starts Sunday, March 3, 2013, in Willow, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Lead dogs on the team of Louie Ambrose run during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska. The competitive portion of the 1,000-mile race is scheduled to begin Sunday in Willow, Alaska. (AP Photo/Dan Joling)
Dogs on the team of Anna Berrington run in the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska. The competitive portion of the 1,000-mile race is scheduled to begin Sunday in Willow, Alaska. (AP Photo/Dan Joling)
Cim Smith greets fans during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska. The competitive portion of the 1,000-mile race is scheduled to begin Sunday in Willow, Alaska. (AP Photo/Dan Joling)
Curt Perano of New Zealand drives his team during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska. The competitive portion of the 1,000-mile race is scheduled to begin Sunday in Willow, Alaska. (AP Photo/Dan Joling)
Happy lead dogs for Iditarod musher Robert Bundtzen lead the way during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Saturday March 5, 2011 in Anchorage, Alaska. The actual start takes place Sunday in Willow, north of Anchorage. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)
Musher Quin Iten, son of Iditarod sled dog race veteran Ed Iten, kisses lead sled dog Inga as they prepare to run a trail in the remote Inupiat Eskimo village Noorvik, Alaska, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010. Mushers are practicing for the arrival of the U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves to formally launch the nation's 2010 count in Noorvik, Alaska, where residents are planning a huge reception of traditional dancing and a feast of caribou, moose and other foods. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The team of musher Peter Kaiser dashes along Fourth Avenue on Saturday, March 5, 2011, in Anchorage, Alaska, during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The actual start takes place Sunday in Willow, north of Anchorage. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)
In this photo taken Feb. 17, 2011, in Anchorage, Alaska, Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race rookie Scott Janssen of Anchorage, Alaska, poses for a photo with one of his pet dogs. Scott Janssen _ "The Mushing Mortician" _ is foregoing ice cream and cake this year to celebrate his 50th birthday on the Iditarod Trail, but some of his best friends are still going to sing him a birthday song. Janssen is taking a hiatus from his funeral service business to run the 1,150-mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome. The dog is not part of his racing team. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
In this photo taken Feb. 17, 2011, in Anchorage, Alaska, Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race rookie Scott Janssen of Anchorage, Alaska, poses for a photo. Scott Janssen _ "The Mushing Mortician" _ is foregoing ice cream and cake this year to celebrate his 50th birthday on the Iditarod Trail, but some of his best friends are still going to sing him a birthday song. "It is going to be me and 16 dogs and they are going to be howling at the moon," said Janssen, an undertaker competing in his first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Janssen is taking a hiatus from his funeral service business to run the 1,150-mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Lance Mackey drives his team up the finish chute of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Wednesday, March 18, 2009, in Nome, Alaska, to win his third Iditarod in a row. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
The 2004 Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey, right, and Aaron Burmeister drive their teams across Norton Bay through the blowing snow Monday, March 16, 2009, near the Shaktoolik, Alaska, checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
Cim Smyth arrives off of the Yukon River an into the Kaltag, Alaska, checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Sunday, March 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
Canadian musher Sebastian Schnuelle followed closely by Aaron Burmeister drives his team off of the Yukon River and into the Anvik, Alaska checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race trail Friday, March 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
FILE - Mac, one of Jeff Holt's sled dogs, peeks out of its box as he waits to join the team and begin the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Willow, Alaska, March 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)
Mushers take care of their dog teams as they rest at the Rainy Pass, Alaska, checkpoint of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Monday, March 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
Norwegian musher Bjornar Anderson drives his team past an old cabin as he leaves the Rainy Pass, Alaska checkpoint of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Monday, March 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
Canadan musher Sebastian Schnuelle, the 2009 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race Champion, drives his team down Fourth Avenue with Gisela Houseman, of Orange TX. in the sled during ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Saturday, March 7, 2009, in Anchorage, Alaska. Sixty-seven mushers are racing to Nome in the 1,100 mile sled dog race. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
FILE - This March 7, 2009, file photo shows Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher Hugh Neff's lead dogs jumping in their harness as they get ready for the ceremonial start of the race in Anchorage, Alaska. Sled dogs, such as those booting up for Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, are carefully outfitted with booties at every step. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, FILE)
Musher Wade Marrs of Wasillal, Alaska, leads his team Saturday, March 7, 2015, during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska. The official start is Monday in Fairbanks, where the race was moved because of a lack of snow to the south. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) -- Winter has finally cooperated with the Iditarod.

More than four inches of new snowfall greeted Stan Hooley, the chief executive officer of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, when he arrived in Fairbanks on Sunday, a day before the competitive race begins.

"Seems a little bit more like the Iditarod when you actually have some snow around," said Hooley.

Warm temperatures have played havoc with the Iditarod all winter long as the same stalled jet stream that buried the eastern seaboard in snow has left Alaska unseasonable warm and dry. Officials last month decided conditions in the Alaska Range were so poor because of a lack of snow that the competitive start would be moved over the mountain range to Fairbanks.

That wasn't the only change officials were considering, and the ceremonial start in Anchorage could have been moved to Fairbanks, as well, also because of the weather.

"It was closer than I'd like to admit, yeah," he said. "We like to tell people the Iditarod will never be canceled, and it wouldn't. But the possibility of the ceremonial start needing to be moved as well, was very real."

The temperature of 14 degrees and light snow in Fairbanks Sunday morning were very different from the conditions mushers faced in Anchorage a day before, when it was 40 degrees and rainy. Municipality of Anchorage crews trucked in snow so mushers could travel downtowns streets for the ceremonial start, but Hooley said if the event had gone on another hour, that all would have been melted away.

There was one casualty during the ceremonial run when Stuart, a dog on Buena Vista, Colorado, musher Lachlan Clarke's team, was struck and killed by a car in Anchorage after it got loose.

Fairbanks hasn't been entirely without weather worries either. The race was to have started on the Chena River, but a string of days near the freezing mark prompted worry the ice wouldn't be strong enough to handle the weight of mushers, dog teams and all the volunteers needed at the start. Officials have moved the start a few hundred feet onto land, and mushers will go about a half-mile before getting on the river.

The route change will put 78 mushers on an entirely new route to the finish line in the old Gold Rush town of Nome on the Bering Sea, most of it on river ice. The winner, who will pocket $70,000 and the keys to a new pickup, is expected in about nine days.

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins thanked community volunteers for making the Fairbanks start a reality in spite of the short turnaround.

"You know, Fairbanks steps up to it," he said.

It helps Fairbanks has an extensive history with the sport. The 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, considered by some to be even more rugged than the Iditarod, alternates its start and finish each year between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. Fairbanks also plays host to many sled dog sprint races throughout the year.

"Fairbanks is dog mushing. It's more than a sport here, it's a lifestyle," said Deb Hickok, president of Explore Fairbanks.

More from AOL.com:
Chris Johnson in stable condition after drive-by shooting
Wisconsin chief treading carefully after fatal shooting
2 Coast Guard Academy cadets killed in spring break crash

Read Full Story

From Our Partners