Here's an odd one: dogsled race canceled because there’s too much snow

How’s this for odd? Minnesota sled dog race canceled because of too much snow

Patrick Springer, Forum Communications

Bemidji Pioneer – 01/06/2009

Here’s another entry for the annals of noteworthy winter weather: The dogsled race near Frazee, Minn., has been canceled because there’s too much snow.

Too much fluffy snow that keeps drifting and therefore made it impossible to maintain a groomed trail.

That poses a safety risk to the dogs, supercharged canines whose mushers need a groomed trail to drop a hook to stop when necessary.

“We can’t pack it,” race organizer Eddy Streeper said Monday. “We just can’t get it packed. We had to speak up on behalf of the dogs.”

The Third Crossing Sled Dog Rendezvous, slated for Jan. 23-24, would have been the ninth annual running of the sprint races, which twice were canceled for lack of snow.

This winter, as anyone with a driveway knows, has been a season of prodigious snows.

The Frazee area has received about 3 feet of snow, but winds keep creating drifts of 4 feet or more over the course, which was to host races of four to 14 miles.

“The drifting aspect is just unbelievable,” said Streeper, a native of Canada who has been involved with dogsled racing for 25 years. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The National Weather Service doesn’t tally snow accumulations and moisture content for Frazee. But snowfalls in Fargo, 54 miles to the northwest, have totaled 39.3 inches since October, with 2.37 liquid inches.

That translates into a moisture content of 6 percent – snow is considered wet at around 30 percent to 35 percent. That dry, fluffy snow is just too deep.

Cancellation of the dog races is a blow to Frazee, population 1,374. Last year’s two-day event drew 2,000 to 3,000 spectators, and contestants come from as far as Alaska, five Canadian provinces and five or six states.

“This is the NASCAR of sled-dogging, the sprint ones,” said Gale Kaas, Frazee Sled Dog Club secretary.

“We’ll try again next year,” Streeper added. “We’ll see what the weather does to us.”

h/t to David Walton

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Leon Brozyna
January 9, 2009 1:51 am

And further west, let’s not forget how it’s either too cold to ski in all that snow or how there’s so much snow that the season’s turning deadly with avalanches. Guess that’s what happens when folks that have grown up during the positive phase of the PDO now have to face the colder, more hazardous conditions of the PDO’s negative phase.
It’s all this darn global warm … I mean climate change that’s turning people’s expectations upside down.

January 9, 2009 2:56 am

By the way the Mediterranean port of Marseilles was snowbound yesterday and the day before –
That’s very unusual!

January 9, 2009 4:54 am

This is in my viewing area. Oddly, we only have 6″ more on the ground now than we did last year at this time, so I was surprised this was an issue. We did break monthly snow records in this area in December, but it was a very fluffy snow for our standards and the 30 plus inches of snow has compressed to 10-20″ on the ground as of today.

January 9, 2009 5:59 am

Does it not snow in MN? Does it not get windy in MN? Well, one thing for sure is that there won’t be any occurrence of any yellow snow this year.

January 9, 2009 6:17 am

Another Minnesota story appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“Duluth woman: Freezing and alone, waiting to die ”
National Public Radio picked it up and ran it nationally.
Hats off to the medical team that saved her life.
The ironic part is that Dec 27 was the warmest day of the month in Duluth MN (which might explain the accident).

Wondering Aloud
January 9, 2009 6:51 am

I saw this report, this area is fairly near me, snow around here is higher than usual, temperatures so far this winter seem very low, but this really doesn’t make any sense to me. The extreme cold has made the snow so it won’t pack, but a lot of other sled dog races happen in areas that always have this powdery snow.
Oh well, I wasn’t going to them anyway, way too cold.

Tim Clark
January 9, 2009 8:56 am

Leon Brozyna (01:51:01) :
And further west, let’s not forget how it’s either too cold to ski in all that snow or how there’s so much snow that the season’s turning deadly with avalanches.

I grew up in Colorado and skied every christmas vacation from 1962 to 1978 with a group. Went sking with my family 12/23-24/2008. Daytime temps in the lower teens both days. I don’t remember it being that cold back then, but it could be age related. If not, d**m your negative PDO.

gary gulrud
January 9, 2009 9:52 am

“Oh well, I wasn’t going to them anyway, way too cold.”
I’m a couple of hours south. Betting cold killed prospects but isn’t a convenient scapegoat, being that we’re no longer ‘outdoorsy’ following decades of warm winters.

M White
January 9, 2009 10:51 am
January 9, 2009 11:32 am

Beautiful Picture of Snow Cover in Europe today, at 1 km resolution (or better, if you prefer)

January 9, 2009 2:04 pm

Portugal is having a snowfall to remember! Greatest in 20 years in the north. Possibility of snow in Algarve, better known for it’s Summer beaches, this night!

gary gulrud
January 9, 2009 3:14 pm

Next weeks forecast:
“From the central Plains to the Northeast temperatures are going below zero; there is no question about it. Meanwhile, the Upper Midwest and northern New England could experience readings lower than 30 below zero!”
Gore must be holding court somewhere like Chicago this weekend.

rob wykoff
January 9, 2009 4:35 pm

Worry not. Hansen will proclaim January the third warmest in 253 billion, 115 million, 349 thousand, and 956 years

January 11, 2009 12:19 pm

OT, or possibly not, the Euro news agency MINA is warning folks not wear body piercings outdoors when temps are substantially below freezing:
MINA, Jan 10, 2009
Slovenia registered the lowest temperatures ever. At the Bohin resort, a half frozen weatherman standing outside, reported minus 49°C.
Slovenian Media have reported recommendations of the meteorological institute of Germany, which alarms over the risks of having piercings –- the metal earrings on people’s body could cause dangerous freezing.
No metal objects attached to the body should be worn, warns the media, for people who must venture outside. For everyone else, Slovenian media urges its citizens to stay in their homes.

This weather is not fit for man nor beast, nor punk rockers.

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