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Warm conditions force gruelling Yukon Quest to shift start and finish lines

Image: Lisa Grenier

Image: Lisa Grenier


Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 10:36 AM -

How about that - the famous 1,600 km Yukon Quest is running into some trouble not because of terrible weather, but because it's been too darned warm!

First they announced on Monday that the weather conditions forced a re-route between Dawson City, Yukon, and Eagle, Alaska, due to an impassible stretch of trail - shaving 80 km off the total route.

Then, on Tuesday, organizers announced those same conditions forced the start and finish lines to be moved.


The quest's origin in Fairbanks, Alaska, will be moved from the Chena River to 2nd Avenue.

"The relocation is due to thinner ice than normal from last week’s warm temperatures, and concern for having 2-3,000 spectators on the ice," organizers said.

In Yukon, the finish line will be moved from downtown Whitehorse to the Takhini Hot Springs on the Takhini Hot Springs Road, off the North Klondike Highway, due to "dangerous train conditions" on the Yukon River.

The irony of the Arctic event's weather-related difficulties won't be lost on people elsewhere in Canada. 

The Yukon was actually warmer than much of the provinces last week, and at one point, even warmer slightly than parts of Florida.

The country shivered in windchills down to -30 from the Prairies to the east coast, and while a slight warm-up is on the way, parts of eastern Canada, including southern Ontario could be looking at a bad storm next week.


WHAT'S IN STORE? We're keeping a watchful eye on that system. Check out our latest report, and keep tuning in on TV for more info.


Even in places where you'd realistically expect it to be consistently cold, organizers are still at the mercy of the elements.

In 1968, for example, the Centennial dog sled race, a predecessor of the better-known Iditarod, was cancelled altogether due to lack of snow, while other years could see mushers race through raging blizzards.

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