With the Kuskokwim 300 wrapping up, the 2020 mushing season is hitting full swing. If early races are any indication, this year may very well be a great one for racers and fans alike.
The season began with a wobbly start: Two popular mushing races, the Tustamena 200 and Knik 200, which also features a shorter distance, were cancelled. Tustamena 200 Race Director Tami Murray said the race team was trying to "rebuild," and that its board decided to take a year off. At the same time, January's Knik 100 and 200 - the latter of which is a qualifier for Yukon Quest and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race - was cancelled for the second year in a row, with officials citing concerns including warm weather and trail conditions.
However, recent races seem to have gone on without a hitch.
In mid-January, veteran Iditarod musher Nicolas Pete won his third-straight Copper Basin 300, earning him the three-peat and $7,000 of a $20,000 purse. Twenty-seven teams started the race, which was run in -44 degree Fahrenheit temperatures and in reverse from years past, beginning in Glennallen before going through Lake Louise, Sourdough, Meiers Lake and Chistochina. Ten teams, including three-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey, scratched.