Iron Dog still canceled, despite racers' efforts

Posted: Thursday, February 06, 2003

ANCHORAGE - Snowmachiners who had hoped to race in the Iron Dog 2000 this year tried without success Tuesday night to get the race's board to reverse its decision to cancel the race.

The board voted last week to cancel the 2000-mile race from Fairbanks to Nome to Wasilla, citing poor trail conditions.

Racers argued adamantly that the decision to cancel the $100,000 event because of scant snow and open water on rivers was made too soon, they said. Snow has now fallen along the Bering Sea coast, and conditions in Interior Alaska look better.

Safety concerns due to lack of snow were overblown, they said, noting that the race is always potentially dangerous. There is, they said, no way to make it absolutely safe.

"It's not safety. It's not trail conditions," said Wasilla's Todd Palin, a three-time champ. "You can't sell me on that."

Board chairman Curtis Green, a two-time Iron Dog veteran, countered that the decision was really based on a combination of those things, logistics and a pitiful weather outlook.

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