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Alaska mushing season gearing up despite sparse snow cover

Handler Robert Lutz with an excited husky at the 2012 Iditarod restart in Willow.
Eric Vercammen/Northern Light Media photo
At the 2012 Yukon Quest start, a Chukchi husky from Team Racing Beringia, of Russia and Norway, waits to be harnessed.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
At the Circle City checkpoint on the 2012 Yukon Quest, a bird surveys the resting teams.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
Dallas Seavey waves to fans as he leaves the road system west of Willow, on his way to the 2012 Iditarod championship.
Eric Vercammen/Northern Light Media photo
Dan Seavey, who finished the first Iditarod in 1973, traveled the 2012 Iditarod trail to commemorate of the 100th anniversary of the trail.
Eric Vercammen/Northern Light Media photo
Yukon Quest champions Hans Gatt and Sebastian Schnuelle at the 2012 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
A leader in Varan Hoyt's team ready to start the Northern Lights 300.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
Jake Berkowitz's team digs in at the start of the 2012 Copper Basin 300.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
Champion musher Jodi Bailey leads her team to the start chute at the 2012 Iditarod Ceremonial Start in Anchorage.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
Canadian musher Karen Ramstead's team in the 2012 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media
Canadian musher Karen Ramstead's team in the 2012 Iditarod restart in Willow.
Eric Vercammen/Northern Light Media photo
Four-time Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion Lance Mackey finishes the 2012 Knik 200 just ahead of Jake Berkowitz.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
A handler leads musher Paige Drobney's team toward the start chute in the 2012 Yukon Quest in Fairbanks.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
Misha Peterson's Moon Run Kennels team just south of the Central checkpoint in the 2012 Yukon Quest.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
A team moves into the start chute in the 2012 Yukon Quest in Fairbanks.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
Yuka Honda's team grabs for traction on the way to the start chute in the 2012 Yukon Quest in Fairbanks.
Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media photo
Helen Hegener

Despite a below-average snowfall and frigid temperatures in much of Alaska, the sled dog racing season is getting set to kick into high gear. Here are some upcoming races in 2012 and 2013; to find more information, just click the links to be taken to the individual race sites. Race dates and locations may be subject to change. At least one race -- the Sheep Mountain 150 -- that was supposed to take place on Dec. 15 and 16 was already canceled due to lack of snow.

This list was compiled by Helen Hegener, who is an author and a documentary filmmaker specializing in distance sled dog races and the men, women and dogs who run them. This post originally appeared on her website, Northern Light Media. It has been republished with permission. Race date changes or additions can be emailed to helenhegener(at)gmail.com