Do you want to hear about another thing being hurt by warming winters? Probably not, but here it is anyway: Dogsled racing.
The Appalachian Mountain Club has a big story about the problem (read it right here) called “Menace to Mushing”.
In a 2014 interview, Dave Steele, the executive director of the International Sled Dog Racing Association, estimated that 40 percent of North American races had been impacted over the previous five years. The New England Sled Dog Club has hosted no more than two snow races in any season since 2012, a far cry from the busy schedules of winters past. Even Alaska has felt the effects: The Iditarod start line has been moved 350 miles north twice in the last five years due to weather, with an increasing number of U.S. races scrubbed entirely.
The impacts on training extend into the off-season. Traditional northern dog breeds, such as huskies and malamutes, have little heat tolerance, and mushers generally won’t run at temperatures above 55 degrees Fahreneheit or when the combined temperature and relative humidity exceeds 120 degrees.
“The window to train our dogs is becoming much shorter and more challenging,” says Emily Golumb, a veterinary medicine student entering her 11th year as a musher with Midnight Run Racing Kennel in Merrimack, N.H. “I remember years where we could start in late August or early September, but that hasn’t been possible recently.”