Dogsled race in Prince Albert, Sask., affected by lack of snow

Mild weather and lack of snow are taking a toll on this week's Canadian Challenge dogsled race.

Race that starts Feb. 21 is being shortened

Tuesday, Feb. 21, is race day at the Canadian Challenge dogsled race, which normally runs from Prince Albert to La Ronge but this year will be shortened. (Canadian Challenge)

Mild weather and lack of snow are taking a toll on this week's Canadian Challenge dogsled race at Prince Albert, Sask.

The race that starts Tuesday is going ahead this year, but organizers have decided to shorten the course to avoid areas that are bare of snow.

"It's a little disconcerting that two years in a row we've run into these kinds of issues," organizer Gill Gracie said.

The starting line for the Prince Albert-based race has been changed. The race will now start tomorrow at 5 p.m. CST at Elk Ridge, about an hour by road north of Prince Albert.

South of that, the snow has melted, transforming a good portion of the trail into mud and gravel. 

"The weather is changing, we have to realize that,"Gracie said. "But it's hit and miss — you never know what to expect, especially in February. It could be deep freeze and lots of snow."

There are 20 teams competing this year. The shortened 12-dog race will now be a total of 270 miles (434 kilometres) while the 8-dog race is 135 miles (217 kilometres).