Ivakkak dog teams pause mid-race due to poor snow conditions

3 of the race’s 12 teams have withdrawn from event after their dogs refuse to run

An Ivakkak musher tends to his dog team on a break from the race last week between Salluit and Ivujivik. (Photo courtesy of Ivakkak/Makivik Corp.)

By Nunatsiaq News

Soft snow and sore dog paws have forced Ivakkak dog teams to take a break mid-race, while prompting some teams to withdraw from the annual event.

Twelve teams competing in Nunavik’s annual dog-sled race departed Salluit Feb. 24, heading southwest towards the Hudson coast and onwards to the race’s finish line in Puvirnituq.

But soft snow has slowed teams significantly and forced racers to take a break at Kuuvik, a camp along the Hudson coast between Ivujivik and Akulivik.

“The soft snow, in particular, has been hard on the dog’s paws, causing some of the teams to no longer want to run,” Ivakkak organizers said in a Mar. 3 social media post.

“In addition to this, we now have high winds forecasted to begin tonight with blizzard conditions that are going to continue for the next few days. At this time it will be best for the teams to remain where they are and wait out the upcoming storm.”

Environment Canada has also issued blizzard warnings for the area along eastern Hudson Bay between now and Saturday.

Race conditions have already prompted three teams to withdraw from the event.

Musher duos Matthew Arngak and Padlayat Kaitak, Alec Aupaluk and Tivii Kulula, and now Paulusie Jason Irnik and Jamie Kiatainaq, all from Kangiqsujuaq, have withdrawn from the race after their dogs refused to run.

Nine teams remain, with Puvirnituq mushing team Aisa Surusilak and Paulusi Amarualik in top position.

You can follow Ivakkak at the race’s website.

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(5) Comments:

      • Posted by Adamie Kalingo on

        It has been a windy winter. The trails are worse than ever. It’s very rough. With hard snow. Not good with white-out condition. It’s even dangerous.

  1. Posted by White rabbit on

    After flying over that area in winter I understand a bit of how difficult it can be. Hugh stretches in every direction with little showing to find a way, at least to anyone not knowing the place well. It has to be tough going, the wind will pack the trail making it regular sledding terrain.

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