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Sled Dog Races Face Cancellation for Second Straight Year

A snowless scene in Hamilton has forced organizers to cancel the New England Sled Dogs races scheduled for the coming weekend.

A mostly snowless winter for the second year in a row has again forced the cancellation the New England Sled Dog races in Hamilton.

Organizer Robert Henrici said on Monday that a meeting of volunteer organizers was planned at his house on Monday night where the official decision will be made to cancel this year's race, which was scheduled for Feb. 2-3 at Appleton Farms. It has been previously postponed from a weekend in mid-January.

With no snow on the ground, a forecast for just an inch of snow of Monday night and temperatures forecasted to get into the 50s on Wednesday, “it’s not going to happen,” said Henrici, co-chairman of the races and its non-profit organizer, Friends of New England Sled Dog Club Races. “Unfortunately there is no snow.”

There have been a few small storms this winter that have delivered about 4 inches each, but at no point this winter has there been enough snow on the ground to hold the races, he said.

“We haven’t had ample snow at all this winter,” he said.

The races cannot again be rescheduled for later in the winter because the mushers already have races scheduled in other areas of the Northeast.

“This was our last opportunity,” he said.

Henrici said he was disappointed to see two storms pass last week – one on Monday night and another on Friday night – that at one point both were each forecasted to drop about six inches of snow or more.

“Imagine?” he said. “That was discouraging.”

It is the second straight year the races have been cancelled. The races were also a casualty of last winter’s almost entirely snowless year. Two years ago, more than 80 teams at all levels converged on Appleton Farms for two days full of races. In the event’s first year in 2010, day one went off but an overnight snowmelt caused Sunday to be cancelled.

Henrici said the group still plans on the event for 2014.

“I’m always pushing for it,” he said.

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