It’s the 81st year of Fur Rondy! Fur Rendezvous, Rondy for short, is Anchorage’s winter festival, the time of year when we do fun and silly things to blow off cabin fever. (I wrote about the origins of Fur Rondy before, so you can check out that post at http://www.lynnlovegreen.com/fur-rendezvous-2014/.) From the the Miners and Trappers Ball to the snow sculptures, the melodrama to the parade, the carnival to the snowshoe softball games, there’s a lot of fun stuff to do. But for many of us, dog mushing is at the core of the festivities.
The Fur Rondy World Championship Sled Dog Races have been running since 1946. When I was growing up in the Anchorage area, I thought everyone got a day off to go watch the dog sled races. (Later, I learned the holiday was actually in honor of presidential birthdays.) Bundling up to go downtown to see the teams start, hearing names of mushing greats like Doc Lombard and George Attla over the speakers, seeing dogs barking and pulling their sleds, cheering them on as the teams sprinted down the snow-covered street, was a highlight of my winters for a long time. I still have a soft spot in my heart for this race.
Now there’s a new generation of sprint dog mushers competing for the title. Last year, the race was cancelled due to lack of snow. This year, we have enough to run a shortened version of the race. At least we can still gather on 4th Avenue to see the teams and keep the tradition going. Learn more about this race at http://asdra.org.