A winter season slow to take off this year has led to the cancellation of the U.P. 200 Sled Dog Races.

The Iditarod qualifying 200-mile race, as well as the Midnight Run and Jack Pine 30 were scheduled to take place mid-February with starting gates in downtown Marquette.

With deteriorating trail conditions due to lack of snow, event organizers have expressed concern for the safety of the mushers and their dogs should the races be held. U.P. 200 President Darlene Welch said. “Sled dog races across the Midwest have been canceled this winter due to lack of snow and warm temperatures. That being the case, we were even more determined to hold our races for mushers and the community, but the current conditions have made the choice for us. Safety is our top priority and given the lack of snow and the warm temperatures, we cannot offer a safe race,” U.P. 200 President Darlene Welch said.

However, Welch also said organizers intend to make the best of this difficult situation, by hosting a festival of the “Sled Dog Powered by NMU” event on Friday, Feb. 16 in downtown Marquette. Streets will be filled with snow for sledding and sled dog demos will take place alongside live music and other activities. More information about festival of the sled dog will be made available on U.P. 200 social media platforms in the days to come.