Sports | Feb 22

Warm Winter Puts "Canine Koshien" on Thin Ice

HOKKAIDO, Feb 22 (News On Japan) - Due to the effects of an unusually warm winter, the national dog sledding race, often referred to as "Koshien of Dogs," scheduled to be held in Hokkaido, has been canceled.

The organizing committee of the event stated that the snow on the course had melted due to the record warmth, making it difficult to hold the race. Since 1984, the national dog sledding race, where dogs pull sleds across snowy fields, has been held in Wakkanai City, Hokkaido, earning it the nickname "Koshien of Dogs." This year's event was scheduled for two days starting on February 24, with 56 teams from Hokkaido, Iwate Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, and others, totaling 113 dogs, set to participate.

However, on February 19, Wakkanai City recorded a high temperature of 10.6 degrees Celsius, the highest for February since records began, leading to widespread snowmelt throughout the city. According to the organizing committee, which includes Wakkanai City, the exceptional warmth caused the snow on the dog sledding course to melt, resulting in the difficult decision to cancel the event. The Meteorological Agency reported that near the venue at Wakkanai Airport, where the average snow depth is typically 40 centimeters, there was only 1 centimeter of snow left at noon on February 21. The National Dog Sledding Wakkanai Tournament Organizing Committee commented, "While there have been instances of cancellation due to insufficient snow or the impact of the novel coronavirus, cancellation due to melting snow is extremely unusual. We apologize to those who were looking forward to participating in the event and to the citizens who were excited about the race, and we ask for their understanding."

Source: NHK


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