A veteran musher says Yukon Quest officials have made the right decision in shortening one leg of the race.

They're taking the American Summit-Forty Mile River portion out of the Eagle to Dawson City section. The racers will instead stay on the Yukon River for the entire leg.

The 1,600-kilometre dog sled race leaves from Fairbanks, Alaska, this year, with the finish line in Whitehorse.

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The Yukon Quest trail between Whitehorse and Fairbanks. This year the racers will instead stay on the Yukon River for the entire leg between Eagle and Dawson City. (courtesy of Yukon Quest)

Michelle Phillips, who has run the Quest six times, is guessing the trail on the Taylor Highway over the American Summit is in very bad shape.

"I think probably with the warming trend probably a lot of pavement is exposed and there's also some glaciers that build there so if you don't have the snow it could be pretty dangerous for the dogs," she said.

"I imagine they made the best choice for the dogs."

The race has been shortened by around 80 kilometres and could take about 20 hours off the race time.

The Yukon Quest begins Saturday in Fairbanks.