As temperatures rose in the 60s on Monday, the announcement came that this year’s New England Sled Dog Races at Appleton Farms have been postponed until February.
The races . The new date is Feb. 2-3.
The announcement was made on Monday afternoon on the Facebook page for the races.
“The races have been postponed until February 2-3,” the message stated. “See you there!”
It is the second straight year that the races had to be postponed because of a lack of snow. Last year’s races, which were originally scheduled for mid-January, were postponed to the backup February date and then postponed altogether to 2013 after barely any snow fell.
The races require two things – frozen ground and at least 6-8 inches of snow, according to Robert Henrici, one of the organizers. A few inches of snow fell at the end of 2012 and it stuck around afterward as temperatures were the lowest in a year. But in recent days the temperature has risen into the 40s and 50s – and into the 60s on Monday. All the snow has melted and the ground has started to thaw.
The forecast up until the original race dates shows overnight lows into the 20s and daytime high temperatures into the 40s early in the week with high dropping into the 30s later in the week, but hardly a chance of new snow. A storm on Wednesday could deliver an inch or two at the most.
Two years ago, the races were a roaring success with as many as 10,000 spectators from all over the region converging on Appleton Farms for two full days of races.
A visit is still planned this week by Shelly Gill, a successful sled dog racer and author. She has plans to visit the schools and has a program planned for the public on Thursday night at the Community House of Hamilton-Wenham.