FAIRBANKS — The GCI Open North American Championships will start and finish at the Mushers Hall in Fairbanks for the second straight year.
Officials with the Alaska Dog Mushers Association announced Tuesday that they are moving the March 18 event from the city’s downtown area and back to the Jeff Studdert Racegrounds. The decision was prompted by warm winter weather’s effect on course conditions, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
“We still would have liked to have had it (start and finish) downtown,” said Paula Ciniero, president of the ADMA board of directors, “but safety doesn’t dictate that for us this year.”
Open water on Noyes Slough led officials to move the start and finish for the second year in a row. The area of concern was a 3-mile section that meets the Chena River and goes to a race crossing at Danby Street.
“We had our team and the borough had people look at it,” Paula Ciniero, president of the ADMA board of directors, said by telephone on Tuesday night. “There were open holes and glare ice, and that kind of made our decision for us.”
This year’s sled dog race will be held March 18-20. The distances are set for 20 miles on the first and second day, and 30 miles on the third day.
The race is expected to have a purse of about $30,000, although the final total has not yet been announced.