By Tegan Hanlon
29 February 2016
(ADN) – How weird has Anchorage's weather been this winter?
Weird enough that an Alaska Railroad spokesman said Monday that a train will deliver seven rail cars loaded with snow to the state's largest city this week in time for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start on Saturday.
On top of that, the route for the Anchorage ceremonial start may not run the full 11 miles from Fourth Avenue to Campbell Airstrip, said Stan Hooley, Iditarod CEO, in a brief statement emailed Monday evening to Alaska Dispatch News.
“It’s no secret that warm temperatures for days on end have further eroded what little snow cover existed on the trail system here in Anchorage,” the statement said. “We are exploring our options at this time as we very well may need to shorten our Day 1 Ceremonial Start.”
Hooley did not respond to a phone call Monday seeking details.
Jeff Barney, Fur Rendezvous executive director, said the snow from Fairbanks will get spread across portions of Anchorage’s streets and will help with Fur Rondy events, like the Running of the Reindeer on Saturday.
"The railroad is saving our behinds and bringing 300 cubic yards of snow," Barney said.
Barney said it's the first time he can remember Fur Rondy organizers having snow transported from outside of Anchorage for its events. Tim Sullivan, Alaska Railroad spokesman, said the snow will come from the Fairbanks railyard, hundreds of miles away.
The seven additional railcars filled with snow will be hooked onto the regularly scheduled freight train to Anchorage, he said. Sullivan said he expects the train to arrive Thursday morning. [more]
By Rachel D'Oro
3 March 2016
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Associated Press) – Alaska's largest city is so hungry for snow, organizers of the famous Iditarod sled dog race were forced to ship tons of it by train Thursday and dramatically shorten the event's ceremonial start this weekend.
Here is a look at what it took to get Saturday's fan-friendly parade of mushers and their four-legged teams back on track amid a warm winter that shrank Anchorage's piles of race-worthy snow.
Persistent above-freezing temperatures over the last few weeks have melted much of the snow in town, including stockpiles the city tried to set aside for the ceremonial start. The competitive part of the 1,000-mile race kicks off Sunday, 50 miles to the north.
There have been other low-snow years affecting parts of the race, but this marks the first time snow was sent hundreds of miles by train to supplement the meager local supply.
An Alaska Railroad train arrived Thursday morning with seven freight cars full of snow that will be used to help provide a picturesque ground cover on the streets. The snow shipped south from Fairbanks could fill a football field by 2 to 3 inches, railroad spokesman Tim Sullivan said.
The fresh, clean snow will supplement the stingy amount of less-than-pristine local stuff left over for the Iditarod and Anchorage's yearly winter festival.
The prettier snow traveled 360 miles. [more]