Freeze-Dried Snow and Dirty Trails

There’s been a lot of snow out there on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. There have, as well, been some very cold temperatures. The way the Iditarod Trail is put in, this combination can make for a very loose trail and hard going.

Over the years, I’ve heard a commonly expressed criticism issuing from some who don’t understand. They say having snowmachines defining and packing the trail ahead of today’s Iditarod Mushers unnaturally coddles them and subtracts from the romance of the event. After all, they opine, the old timers during Iditarod’s glory days, didn’t have the “iron dog” and weren’t such wimps. In reality, that tough-sounding talk just demonstrates a lack of historical knowledge as well as a dearth of understanding of the physical characteristics of snow and traveling through it.

Continue reading