From high above the 44th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, where 85 teams are competing for the win in Nome, Alaska Dispatch News captured the race’s abbreviated three mile ceremonial start on March 5, 2016. Why was it abbreviated? From The New York Times:

The parade was only three miles long instead of the usual 11 because, despite the train delivery of tons of snow from Fairbanks, there still was not enough to go around.

“We’ve moved snow before,” said Tim Sullivan, a spokesman for the Alaska Railroad, which brought down seven train carloads of snow for the festivities. But hauling snow to someplace that wants it? “That’s unusual,” he said.

Winter here is changing rapidly. Of the six warmest November-to-January seasons in Alaska since 1925, three have been in a row, including this one. Anchorage this year had its fourth-warmest February on record — at 29.9 degrees, almost 10 degrees above average — with little snow for weeks.

Here’s the snow delivery:

And from a sled on the trail in 2014, filmed by four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King, here’s what it’s like to be a musher starting the race with your dog team:

Related links: The dogs of the Iditarod and the Iditarod on Google Street View.

Watch this next: Traveling through Greenland on a dog sled.

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