MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – A decision was made early Wednesday morning to cancel the UP200 Sled Dog races. That includes canceling the Midnight Run and Jack Pine 30 races.
The recent rainfall and the lack of snow coverage made the trail conditions dangerous for dogs and mushers.
Mike Sjolund, the UP200 trail boss, said on Monday, February 13, the conditions were looking promising, but Mother Nature had other plans.
“It wasn’t really until that rain hit. You know, it started to rain, and we were like, ‘Ok, here it comes,’ and then this morning, it was just heartbreaking to have that thought that we might actually have to cancel,” said Sjolund.
Trail officials work throughout the season to groom the trails, but relying on the snowy weather is paramount.
Sjolund said when there’s too much moisture in the air, the snow becomes as hard as concrete, which can damage the dogs’ paws.
“It all presents different challenges each year, and mostly we have the adversity to be able to adapt to those challenges and still provide a safe trail for everybody, but when it comes to ice, there’s no safety in that. You can’t do anything to it, you can’t make adjustments, it just is what it is, and it’s just unsafe,” said Sjolund.
The weekend still brings some exciting events such as the Festival of the Sled Dog– Powered by NMU. This festival is in celebration of the people, organizations, sponsors, and dogs that help make this event possible. WZMQ 19 will provide live coverage for the event starting at 7 p.m. Friday.
“The UP200 is a huge fun event every year that we really look forward to, and it’s not only volunteering that makes it really fun, but it’s also the people, the traditions, the families, the events. Everybody looks forward to it. We’ll have it again next year, and this weekend and Friday night downtown will be really fun. It’ll be a great event,” said UP200 Trail Boss Angela Sjolund.
WZMQ 19 will keep you updated on future races as the maintenance team in Calumet remains hopeful for the Copper Dog 150.