With the premier events of its winter season approaching quickly, the Anchorage
area is enduring very warm and wet weather conditions which threaten to wipe
out all the festivities. An already meager winter took a turn for the worse
a week ago when the temperature rose to forty and a slight drizzle settled into
the Anchorage Bowl. The weather has lingered there for a week now and shows
no signs of improving. Some Anchorage locals are starting to call the winter
of 2002-2003 the worst winter in over 30 years.
The Stadium Start/Finish area at Kincaid Park on Saturday
Anchorage has a number of big events coming up: Cross Country Masters Nationals,
the Tour of Anchorage, and the start of the Iditarod sled dog race.
Masters Nationals is scheduled to take place at Kincaid Park, but the Sven
Johansson 30K Ski Race scheduled for Kincaid this Sunday (Feb 9) could not be
run, and was postponed for a week in hopes of receiving more snow. A high school
race scheduled for Saturday did happen, but not without a lot of volunteer shoveling.
See the Anchorage Daily News article: So,
who needs snow?. Despite the grim outlook, AXCS
remains confident that Masters Nationals can happen. There are almost two
weeks until the first race, which is plenty of time for more snow to arrive.
The Tour of Anchorage is also in need of more snow – probably at least a foot
– in order to take place as planned on March 1st. This race requires a lot of
snow due to the fact that it travels over a lot of variable terrain between
the start at Service High School and the finish at Kincaid.
The most famous Alaskan event, the Iditarod, is also falling victim to the
warm winter forces Iditarod to Break with History.
Junior Nationals, in Fairbanks, is not is jeopardy at this time, due to its
colder weather pattern. See
the Birch Hill webcam.
It has been a below par snow year in many areas, including the Rocky Mountain
west, the Mid-West and Alaska. A number of other high profile events have been
threatened this year, including US Nationals and the Birkie. Fortunately, these
events have received the snow they needed in the weeks, or days, leading up
to the event. Some major marathons have been moved or altered, but so far there
have been no major cancellations in the US this winter due to snow concerns.
The Anchorage ski community is doing its best to stay optimistic. Race organizers
are reminding everyone that all it takes is one good storm to put the snow worries
to rest. And with Anchorage's unpredictable weather, that could happen at any
time. But until then, all fingers are crossed.
Johhpur Loop after shoveling on Saturday