Popular Sled Dog Race In Jeopardy

By KBJR News 1

January 3, 2012 Updated Jan 3, 2012 at 9:06 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- It's less than a month until Mushers from all over the world come to Duluth for the John Beargrease Dog sled race.

They will face more than 400 miles of hills and trees and lots of cold winter nights.

But a dry winter so far might change the start date for the series of dogsled races, and could even cancel the event all together;

The president of the Beargrease marathon says only 35 percent of the trail is in racing condition, and most of that is north of Tofte.

It's hard to really foresee exactly what is going to happen in the next few weeks but our weather staff predicts average snowfall for the month of January.

The race needs a consistent snow pack along the trail, a minimum pack of around 10 inches, which would require a few good snowfalls over the course of the next few weeks.

Officials at Beargrease headquarters are worried but know snow could be right around the corner.

"It doesn't sound good but being a Northern Minnesota native you always know that tomorrow it could be 25 below and two feet of snow"

2006 was the last time the Beargrease had this dry of a winter and that year they did have to cancel the races.

There is a back up starting date if the snow doesn't fall.

The mushers will mush at the beginning of March.

The board of directors has to make that decision in the next two weeks.

Written for the web by: Zach Vavricka