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Idaho Sled Dog Challenge ceremonial start, 100-mile, 300-mile races canceled

CASCADE, Idaho (KIFI) - The organizers of the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge announced Tuesday they are canceling the 2024 ceremonial start, 100-mile race and 300-mile race.

The Warm Lake Stage Race Jan. 24-25 is still a go.

Organizers had been closely monitoring trail conditions the past several weeks and with recent snowfall decided on Jan. 15 the races were a go, but race organizers decided to rescind that decision Tuesday.

"Trail conditions have rapidly deteriorated over the last several days with above-freezing temperatures and rain," race founder and organizer Jerry Wortley said. "According to weather forecasts, conditions will continue to get worse, making the trails unsafe for the dogs and their mushers."

Trail Master and Vice president of the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge Dave Looney, explained how it could become unsafe for dogs and mushers alike.

"Dog safety is our primary concern. Right. And it's just it's far more catastrophic for a dog team When it crosses a category, the lead dog will jump the lead dog will maybe just jump a guard. But then, you know, the eight dogs or ten dogs behind them just pile into there. And with all of that momentum, it'll break legs," Looney explained.

The Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is part of the Rocky Mountain Triple Crown, which also includes the Eagle Cap Extreme near Joseph, Ore., and the Race to the Sky near Lincoln, Mont. The former was canceled several weeks ago due to a lack of snow, and organizers of the latter race announced its cancelation Monday night.

It is also a qualifier for the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest, without the race those Alaskan races may have less mushers.

"Those young mushers that are trying to get qualified, they have certain races that they have to go run that are deemed to be qualifiers for either the Iditarod or the conquest," Looney said.

Tickets are still available for the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge's two VIP trip raffles to the 2024 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska where Anchorage is enjoying record snowfall this winter.

Only 500 raffle tickets for two trips are available and cost $100. With only 91 raffle tickets sold so far, Wortley said the odds of winning are currently better than 1 in 50.

The five-day guided packages are worth $20,000 each. Two winning ticket holders and their choices of one guest each will experience what Wortley -- an Iditarod Air Force pilot -- bills as the adventure of a lifetime Feb. 29-March 5, 2024. He said they will fly out on the Iditarod Trail, visit checkpoints, see the canine athletes in their element, take in Alaska's beauty and culture, and experience the vast untamed wilderness of the last frontier.

You can click HERE to purchase a raffle ticket.

The winning tickets will be drawn Feb. 1, 2024, at 2 p.m. MST. All proceeds benefit the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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