Love Dogs? Love snow? Meet Dogsledding!

Posted on December 19, 2012 by Elizabeth Kovar

‘Tis the prime season of winter sports where outdoor pursuits of skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing are in abundance. A less commonly thought about winter activity, dogsledding, is a unique and adventurous sport that glides you through beautiful scenery and landscapes.  Plus, dog-lovers may get the opportunity to bond with these furry creatures that race you across the snow. What was once a form of transportation is now a form of leisure for those who seek something different.

Dogsledding originated in the early 2000 B.C. era and then introduced in the states in the early 1900’s in the northern Americas and Siberia region.  Various breeds of dogs are utilized for sledding, but the two most common dogs used are the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute.

Strategizing a team of dogs requires skill, knowledge and a thorough understanding of the sport and of the animals themselves. Sledders place dogs in the line depending on the dog’s skill as a leader, point, swing or wheel dog. Sled dogs require endurance, which can lead them to running up to 80 miles per day. Depending on the length of the ride, the dogs run at a pace according to the distance. In poor trail conditions dogs may run six to seven miles per hour, but up to 10 to 14 miles per hour in longer hauls, which is considered “slower” than the average short distanced run.

Ready to explore the snow on sleigh? These organizations below feature a variety of dogsledding packages for a fun-filled ride through snowy lands.

Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge
Location: Ely, Minnesota
With 28 years in business, Wintergreen offers visitors a variety of overnight several-night trips for adults, teens and kids.  In addition, Wintergreen offers special programs such as  “Arctic Trips” and “Dog Sled Trip & Photo Skills Workshop.” Labeled as one of the “best” by National Geographic and Outside Magazine, Wintergreen offers more than an amazing experience, but a chance to bond with the furry team members. Visitors are allowed care for the pups through feeding, bedding and harnessing.

Jackson Hole’s Continental Divide Dog Sled Adventures
Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Travel at the speed of dog throughout Jackson and the Greater Yellowstone region.  Tours led by third generation Wyoming native, the Snodgrass family, have received national press coverage through Pets Part of the Family Show and the Great Outdoorsman Show.  Billy Snodgrass was featured on Discovery Online in 1998 about his first Iditarod Dog Sled Race.  Dogsledding trips commence in mid-November and last through April.  Half, full day and overnight tours available.  Tours are led throughout the Grand Teton National Park.

Austin’s Alaska Adventures
Location: St. Michael, Alaska
Austin’s Alaska Adventures is fishing and dog mushing tour company, which has been operating since 1976. The company has earned achievements such as an 18 time Iditarod finisher and a hall of fame inductee.  Tours run throughout the Western Alaska and Arctic Circle region.  Sled amongst caribou, moose, eagles, seals and wolves. Also, it is possible to see the Northern lights, frozen oceans and snowcapped mountain peaks. When you are tired and hungry, enjoy a delicious meal cooked by Clara who is known for whipping up tasty meals.