It was an event that athletes couldn’t wait to attend – set in the spectacular Alaska town of Juneau, Ironman athletes were drawn to the opportunity to compete at a truly unique event. Event before it took place it made the final four of Ironman’s “Bucket List Bracket” last March. Here’s how we described the event when it was first announced:
Due to the rugged terrain that surrounds the city, there are no roads connecting Juneau (pictured above), the capital of Alaska, to the rest of the state or North America. That means athletes will have to get to Juneau by plane or boat (as do all goods). The city is a two-hour flight from Seattle.
Once there visitors can enjoy the city’s “lively” downtown with historic sites, local shops and pubs. The city sits at the base of Mount Juneau and is surrounded by mountains about 3,500 to 4,000 feet high. At the top of the mountains is the Juneau Icefield from which about 30 glaciers flow. A favourite tourist destination is the Mendenhall Glacier, a short drive from town, which is part of the Tongass National Forest, America’s largest national forest. Whale watching tours are another popular tourist activity.
The remote venue made for a number of challenges, though, as athletes found themselves struggling for accommodations and rental cars at the event. Athletes had their accommodations cancelled, only to find out that their rooms would cost hundreds of dollars more.
“With 1,500 registered athletes and an estimated 1,300 available hotel rooms, the math is not in the athlete’s favour,” Christine Frietchen wrote in a story we posted earlier this year. “And at this point, two months out from the race, all hotels are booked, and there’s a total of 9 available Air BnB properties, none listed for less than $1,000 per night.”
Alaska Airlines even offered discount rates for locals to leave during race week so they could rent out their homes.
Related: Price gouging or simply supply and demand? Ironman Alaska competitors struggle with accommodation
Today Ironman announced that next year’s event would not be taking place.
“Despite having a wonderful host community, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue Ironman Alaska,” the company posted on Facebook.
Many of the comments to the post express just how much athletes enjoyed the event last year.
“Such disappointing news,” Madalyn Marlatt wrote. “The community and adventure there were top notch. I’m grateful that I became an Ironman in the one and only IM Alaska, I just wish others had the chance to experience it… “
We’ve reached out to Ironman for comment and more information on the cancellation of the event and will update this story with any information we receive.