„I can’t even tell you how bad this feels.“ LOC chairman Hans-Jürgen Ebert is not only speaking for himself, but for the whole Frauenwald 2016 volunteer staff. And for the mushers, of course, who were looking forward to 4 days of exciting competition at wintry Frauenwald.
Roughly one week before the first start, snow is still missing in Thuringia. Although the weather forecast speaks of winter conditions in the Thuringian hills for the next days, it doesn’t predict a severe onset of winter. But this is what would be needed for carrying through the World Champs under regular conditions. „Right now, everything here is wet and soggy; the soil needs freezing. Even 15 or 20 centimeters of snow won’t suffice für preparing a competition trail of nearly 40 kilometers.“ Furthermore, Hans-Jürgen Ebert explains: „Over four days, there were supposed to go something like 200 dog teams over the trail, each day. For this, you definitely need a decent base!“ And experience tells the Thuringians, that it is simply not in sight.
It wasn’t by far an easy decision for the organizers, who once more met on-site last night and ran through every conceivable scenario: waiting for another two or three days, postponing once more – in the end, cancelling was the only option. „We already had adjourned by one week, hoping for snow. Another postponement simply couldn’t have been handled by the staff.“ After all, the World Champs boast double the competition days compared to „normal“ race weekends at Frauenwald, not to speak of participants from 24 countries with all their specific needs. In order to handle this, the LOC would have needed at least one week’s time in advance. But this is exactly what the current weather doesn’t give them. So – heavy heart or not – there was just one sensible conclusion: Favor a decent and upright cancellation over carrying through the races under all circumstances, possibly with unworthy conditions that, in the end, might even harm the dogs. Or as Karolin Elle, 2nd chairperson of the organizing club SSCT, put it: „If you ask nature for a dance you have to accept that she will take the lead.“
Tickets already purchased in advance can be returned at the point of purchase or may be cashed in at the SSCT sleddog race at nearby Oberhof, Feb 27th-28th.
Hopefully, then will be enough snow to decently conclude the season. This is something, that also „Snowy“ keeps his (or her??) finger – or better: paws – crossed. Snowy – that was the winning contribution in the naming contest for the official World Champs’ mascot. And the little toy husky surely is the last one to blame for the fact that sometimes it’s not all in the name….