That's what the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner is calling it. With a nice weekend snow storm we now have about half what we could expect on average. With only 1 exception, "deficit" has been the rule in this area the past few years and of course the sled dog trails suffer as a result.
In years past I've been among the first to hook the dogs to a sled rather than a four-wheeler. According to my training journals, the earliest I've been up on a sled was October 22nd, and the latest was December 13th.
The closest official measuring site to my house has 5.5 inches of snow, and that seems about right. It was enough that my friend Mike Green broke out some of the trails on his snow machine yesterday, though he described our Swamp Trail as "rough", and he's the Master of Understatement.
He also broke out my feeder trail, which I greatly appreciate. I think Ted is planning to drag the trail to help create a harder packed base today. It would be good timing, as the forecast is calling for a hard temperature dip tonight (as low as -35F or -37C) and then warming back up the next few days. If so, we may be able to start running small teams on sleds by the weekends. At the very least we can start running "laps" to the top of the hill and back with 4-dog teams. That is a great size team for training gee/haw work so I may make that a priority in the training plan.
Stephanie Little Wolf and Casey James have already been training four-dog teams on sleds, as I noted in yesterday's post. Part of the reason for that is they don't have a four-wheeler for training on wheels, so they do what they have to do.
Having discussed the state of the weather, I'm fixin' to spend the next couple of days being "domestic". I need to go into town to do some shopping today, as there are a few items I need here at the house. Tomorrow I'm planning on spending my bitter-cold weather time trying to convince Darling Daisy and Torus that being house dogs isn't all THAT bad while I clean up and organize around the place and try to make it fit for human habitation again. House keeping always suffers during good dog mushing weather.
I have one more week of R&R from work, and I plan to make the most of it.