Mushers embark on trek across Alaska as Iditarod begins
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is underway.
A field of 78 mushers began the 1,000-mile trek across Alaska on Monday in the unusual start location of Fairbanks.
The race usually kicks off 225 miles away in Willow. But organizers decided to move farther north because of a lack of snow.
Many mushers crashed their sleds last year on barren trails south of the Alaska Range. Officials say the conditions there are worse this year.
The new route will put mushers on river ice for about 600 miles. The winner is expected in Nome in about 10 days.
It's only the second time Fairbanks has hosted the competition's official start. Similar low-snow conditions also pushed the start there in 2003.
Musher Aliy Zirkle says she's just happy officials didn't have to cancel this year's Iditarod because of the poor winter weather.