The Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race trail is great shape thanks to cold and snowy weather. Race Manager Paul Basile said that the latest reports show thick ice on the Kuskokwim River between Bethel and Aniak.
“The river ice is the best it’s been in a long time,” he said. “The cold snap really helped. And of course this past weekend we got some snow, so it’s shaped up quite well.”
That’s a relief, said Basile, after several years of warm weather and open water. To ensure safe mushing along the trail this weekend, he asked travelers to watch out for K300 trail markers up and down the river.
“Anybody who’s out there on snowmachines or four-wheelers will see that our trail markers are up,” said Basile. “I just urge listeners to mind our trail, not tamper with markers, and when the race is starting and mushers are out, just try to keep your distance from dog teams. I think we’ll have a good race.”
Meanwhile, the list of competitive mushers on the K300 has grown. Cantwell musher Paige Drobny registered last week, joining a roster stacked with defending K300 champion Matthew Failor and past champions Pete Kaiser and Jeff King. Basile said that Drobny’s entry should make this K300 even more competitive.
“She came in 7th in the Iditarod last year, so that’s kind of a major addition late in the game,” he said.
This will be Drobny’s first K300. She signed up after bowing out of another difficult mid-distance race.
“The Copper Basin 300 was this past weekend and it was extremely cold,” said Basile.
Fairbanks musher Will Rhodes is planning to run his second K300 after finishing 10th last year. With the two new additions, the K300 roster is up to 21 teams. It’s possible that more local mushers could join before the race starts on Friday, Jan. 17, but Basile said that he’s not expecting any.
Due to an editing error, a previous verison of this article incorrectly said that Will Rhodes scratched from the Copper Basin 300.