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Iditarod trail to follow southern route in 2018, 2019 if snowpack allows

 Mitch Seavey on the trail near Elim, far in the Iditarod lead. (Tracy Sabo / KTUU)
Mitch Seavey on the trail near Elim, far in the Iditarod lead. (Tracy Sabo / KTUU) (KTUU)
Published: May. 19, 2017 at 10:07 PM AKDT
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The Iditarod trail will follow its Southern route for the next two years if snowfall allows, according to a unanimous decision reached Friday by the trail committee.

The decision comes after the committee’s controversial decision this year to move the race re-start to Fairbanks due to low snowpack in the Alaska Range, which race officials said would be hazardous to mushers and dog teams. The move essentially bypassed a number of villages and communities that sit on the traditional trail.

Typically the traditional trail follows a northern route on even years and a southern route on odd years. The northern route takes mushers from Ophir to Kaltag via Cripple, Ruby, Galena and Nulato.

But for the 2018 and 2019 races, mushers will be passing along the southern route through the towns of Iditarod, Shageluk, Anvik, Grayling and Eagle Island.