ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Iron Dog snowmobile race will have a new starting point this year.
Worries about ice instability at Big Lake have caused Iron Dog officials to move the start to the Susitna River launch just west of Willow, Alaska.
In a press release released by Iron Dog, executive director John Woodbury said race officials held off as long as they could on making the move from Big Lake to Deskha Landing.
"The Nov. 30 earthquake, combined with a slothy freeze-up and deep snow with overflow this year caused concern among our board of directors. We discussed our options with Big Lake residents, Mat-Su Borough officials and veteran Iron Dog racers, and we all agreed to opt for the decision that kept our riders, supporters, sponsors and volunteers safe," Woodbury wrote. "It was a painful but measured decision, but the folks at Deshka Landing have really stepped up and have agreed to host the race start this year."
Woodbury went on to say he's excited for the change of venue and it should make for fast racing right from the get-go.
Iron Dog weekend begins February 15 with the Trail Class starting, followed by the Pro Class starting on February 17. Pro-Class racers ride the Iditarod trail from Willow to Nome, and then to Fairbanks for the finish a week later. Trail class riders will start in Big Lake this year, and finish in Nome.