The world’s most famous sled dog race kicks off today with an 11-mile-long trot through Alaska’s largest city.
Think of the short jaunt in Anchorage as the festival part of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
This is the time relaxed mushers will smile and pose for photos, waving at crowds as they leisurely sail along streets covered with trucked-in snow.
But watch out for Sunday, when the real competition begins in Willow, 50 miles to the north.
Gone will be the big easy grins as tense mushers and their leaping dogs begin the 1,000-mile trek through unpredictable wilderness to the old gold rush town of Nome on Alaska’s western coast.