LACONIA, N.H. – A sled dog race that was postponed twice due to unfavorable weather finally got under way Friday, with teams competing over three days for more than $20,000 in prize money.

The World Championship Sled Dog Derby originally was scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 8 but was postponed to Feb. 22 because of a lack of snow. By then, the trails were coated with thick ice, and the races were again rescheduled. But last weekend’s snowstorm left a strong base, and organizers said the trail was in great shape before racing began Friday.

Races will be held through Sunday and include the popular Three-Dog Junior event for young mushers.

The event is organized by the Lakes Region Sled Dog Club and attracts mushers from Canada and around the United States. According to the club’s website, the first sled dog races held in the city took place in 1929 and were sponsored by the New England Sled Dog Club.

The races were held annually until 1938, when they were ended by the threat of World War II. Sled dog racing returned to the city in 1956, with a two-day race sponsored by the Belknap County Sportsman Club. That year, a Laconia VFW post also sponsored a “mutt derby” for children, which the club says led to several mushing careers.

Weather has put a damper on the tradition in recent years. Races were canceled in 2010 and 2012 and shortened in 2009 due to lack of snow. The 2011 champion was Keith Bryar of Moultonborough.