12/03/2014 09:18 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2015

Notorious Section of Alaska's Iditarod Trail Gets Facelift

One of the most notorious sections of the Iditarod Trail is now a little less perilous.

Iditarod Trail Committee crews spent three weeks in October chain sawing, mulching and packing down a 20-mile section between the checkpoints of Rohn and Farewell Lake.

Even in the best years, the section of trail is one of the most difficult parts of the 1,000-mile sled-dog race that runs from Anchorage to Nome. Mushers heading toward Nikolai, approximately 75 miles west of Rohn, often navigate a trail full of obstacles -- including fallen trees from a series of wildfires, leftover stumps, narrow, wooded sections, a mudslide and a wall of ice known as the Post River Glacier.

However, last year's race saw the area mostly bare of snow -- battering mushers who made it through the section with numerous injuries, including broken bones. Several scratched. Others struggled through, stumbling into the checkpoint of Nikolai with sleds barely hanging together. Two mushers were airlifted out of the area -- Scott Janssen with a concussion and broken ankle; and Jake Berkowitz, who damaged his sled so badly he couldn't continue.