The Happy River Steps, a picturesque yet perilous stretch of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, will not be featured in the 2012 race. Race Marshal Mark Nordman says the move isn't necessarily permanent, but was done for safety reasons to ensure a better chance of healthy dogs.
The steps are a steep series of switchbacks between Finger Lake and Rainy Pass that most teams encounter on the second day of the race. Broken sleds, and injuries to mushers and dogs are in play on that portion of the trail.
Instead, the race will be re-routed around the steps courtesy of a mining trail that was installed last year. Nordman says the change will have little effect on the mileage of the race.