Anchorage Has to Import Snow For This Year's Iditarod Race

Kirstin Fawcett

How do you hold a sled dog race without any snow? If you’re the city of Anchorage, Alaska, you borrow massive amounts of the white stuff from a colder city.

As Slate recently reported, the weather is so warm in Anchorage right now that officials had to import seven rail cars of frozen precipitation from Fairbanks. The odd delivery will ensure that this weekend’s legendary Iditarod trail race goes on as planned. The 1000-mile course typically begins in Anchorage, and runs for 11 miles before leaving the city. Since there’s no snowpack this year, that number will be cut to three, the Alaska Dispatch News writes. If it weren’t for the trainload of snow (and some reserves that were already stockpiled in Anchorage for the event), this leg of the race likely wouldn’t be possible at all.

In February, the National Weather Service recorded 1.8 inches of snow in West Anchorage—and all of it fell on February 21. Slate’s Eric Holthaus writes that Anchorage’s lack of recent snow accumulation is likely due to climate change and El Niño. However, since the Iditarod earns Anchorage several million dollars in visitor revenue each year, the city isn't going to let balmy temperatures get in the way of its chance to host the opening ceremony.

[h/t Slate]