January 23, 2015

Race organizers were criticized for not moving the start to Fairbanks last year.     Photo: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr

Warm Winter Melts Iditarod Plans

Alaska sled dog races considering reroutes

Another warm winter with little snow has signaled problems for Alaska’s sled dog races, including the Northern Lights 300 and Iditarod. Without being able to rely on cold, snowy conditions to buffer the icy trails and ensure safe passage over frozen rivers, officials are seeking alternative race routes.

Iditarod officials must decide whether to move the Iditarod to Fairbanks from Southcentral Alaska for its March start, the Alaska Dispatch News reported. In its 42-year existence, the 1,000-mile race has been moved only once. Officials debated a move last year, which had similar warm weather, but they maintained the old route.

“Nothing has changed at this point, but you want to have a plan B in place and Fairbanks would be the place to go,” race marshal Mark Nordman told the Alaska Dispatch News.

After a ceremonial start in Anchorage, the race is scheduled to begin on March 7 in Willow before taking mushers through the Alaska Range, along the Yukon River and Bering Sea to Nome. The Alaska Range section can be dangerous in low-snow conditions, and last year’s organizers faced criticism for keeping the normal route, particularly for having mushers traverse the rocky Dalzell Gorge.

A final decision will be made in February. Towns and villages along the traditional route push for it to be used because of the economic benefits.

“When we don’t come through a village, it’ll be a big hit,” Nordman told the Washington Times. “But they all realize. They see it every day. Their travel is harder because of the lack of snow in some places.” He said that his ultimate responsibility is to the mushers and their dogs.


Riders endured additional costs related to airfare penalties and hotel and car rental extensions.     Photo: David Albo/Flickr

Cyclocross Championship Delay Cost Riders Over $250K

Amateur racer put together informal survey

The one-day postponement of the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships on January 11 in Austin drew plenty of ire from racers. Many complained that holding the finals a day later than planned would result in the added cost of rescheduled flights and extended hotel stays. Well, now Matthew Montesano, an amateur racer in Minnesota, has put a price tag on the delay: $250,756.

Montesano doesn’t claim to be a statistician, but as VeloNews reports, he conducted a survey of racers who competed in the finals that Monday and found that the estimated added average cost per rider was $902. That includes airfare penalties, hotel and car rental extensions, and miscellaneous costs. Forty-four percent of the Monday competitors responded to Montesano’s survey invitation on Twitter.

Racers, not sponsors, shouldered 90 percent of the estimated $250,756 cost, according the survey. Montesano points out that the results would likely have shown a larger average cost per rider had more than a few large professional team cyclists—with bigger support staffs and more expenses, some of which aren’t covered by sponsors—responded.

“The decision to postpone the race from Sunday to Monday cost a lot of racers a lot of money,” Montesano concluded from the survey. “It also meant that over one-fifth of the people planning to race on Sunday did not race in their national championships. This is a damn shame. … I’m sure I’m not alone in urging USA Cycling to seriously vet host organizations and ensure that planning processes are sufficient to avoid the fiasco of the 2015 Cyclocross National Championships.”


Davis placed 10th in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.     Photo: Tom Zikas/U.S. Snowboarding

Danny Davis Wins Gold at X Games

Snowboarder beats Shaun White for second medal

Danny Davis took first place at the X Games halfpipe on Thursday night after two qualifying and three final runs.

The win is Davis’ second in the X Games. His previous winning run was a McTwist, frontside 900, backside 720 and trademark switch method into two double-cork 1080s, scoring him 93.66 points, reported the Denver Post. Davis came back from last place to top of the heap in the final run of the best-of-two qualifying contest.

“I think it’s getting to the point where everyone is doing a lot of the same tricks and the same runs,” Davis told the Denver Post. “I’ve been changing my tricks up a lot and it’s been working for me.”

Taku Hiraoka of Japan took silver, his first X Games medal, with a high-flying final run. Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland, who had ankle surgery two months ago, took bronze after botching his final run. Shaun White, who has 13 X Games gold medals to make him the world’s most dominant halfpipe snowboarder, came in fourth place.


Rosenbarger was caught in an avalanche on the Italian side of Mont Blanc.     Photo: Courtesy of Patagonia

Dave Rosenbarger Killed by Avalanche

Legendary Patagonia skier dies in hospital

Skier and Patagonia ambassador Dave Rosenbarger died Friday in an avalanche in Italy.

Rosenbarger, 38, had been skiing on the Italian side of Mont Blanc with three partners when an avalanche overcame him. His partners, who have not been identified, were able to dig him out. He was airlifted to a local hospital but died from his injuries, reported Powder Magazine.

Rosenbarger, an Oregon native known as “American Dave,” spent his time skiing in Chamonix and Tahoe City and had been with Patagonia since 2010.

“Dave is known for having an effortless style while skiing in steep and precarious places but also for his infectious glowing personality,” wrote Josh Nielsen, Patagonia’s global marketing director. “Dave was one of a kind and will be missed.”

Rosenbarger is survived by his wife, Rosanna Hughes.

  Photo: Christian Pondella/Courtesy of Patagonia