Dog Sledding is driving a team of dogs to pull a sled over ice and snow.
Skills – Strength: 7, Balance: 6, Flexibility: 3, Agility: 5, Coordination: 6
Time needed: travelling time + 3 hours, Cost to try: £100
If you would like to do something unusual this winter, have a go at dogsledding. Canada and Alaska are the best places to go dogsledding. You can go for a dogsledding weekend, or perhaps you may prefer a dogsledding vacation.
What is Dogsledding?
Dogsledding is where you have a sled that is pulled by one or more dogs across snow and ice. The dogs used for this purpose are usually huskies, chosen for their thick fur that keeps them warm.
There are various different types of dogsled. A basket sled is has a woven bed that is raised above the snow on runners and is used for dogsled racing. A Sprint sled is a short version of the basket sled. A toboggan sled has a lower carriage and uses a closed bed, allowing the sled to slide or float over deep snow.
The sleds have runners that stick out behind the dogsled, and are used by the mushers to stand on.
Dogsledding Adventures in Canada
Do I Have to Be Fit to go Dogsledding?
You don’t have to be an athlete to go dogsledding, but you will need to be reasonably fit. When you go dogsledding, you aren’t on the dogsled for the whole time. Sometimes you will have to get off and run beside the dogsled in snow. This is usually to help the dogs pull the dogsled up hills. You will also have to help load equipment onto the dogsled.
So, how fit do you need to be? It is recommended that you should be able to walk 3km on hilly terrain in less than 45 minutes. You should ideally also be able to run 3km in less than 35 minutes. If you aren’t able to do this now, then gradually build up to it. Consult your doctor before starting any physical exercise programme. You can find more details in Outward Bound Canada – Dogsledding – How Fit do I Have to be?
Where Can I go Dogsledding?
You can go dogsledding in several places in Canada and Alaska. Locations include:
- Algonquin Park, Haliburton Highlands, Ontario;
- Kananaskis Country
- The Canadian Rockies;
- Alberta, Canada;
- Guelph, Ontario, Canada;
- Port Blandford, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Huskies are the breed of dog selected for pulling dogsleds, as they have an amazing ability to survive in the cold winter snow. When you have finished dogsledding for the day and have unharnessed them, they bed down in the snow and their thick fur keeps them warm.
A dogsled team is put together with much thought. The team consists of leader dogs, point dogs, swing dogs, and wheel dogs. The lead dog is very treasured, and mushers will seldom let these dogs out of their sights.
- Exodus Travel Dogsledding – Finland, Sweden and Lapland.
- Ontario Outdoor Dogsledding – Northridge Ranch in Huntsville, Algonquin Park and Temagami.
- Winterdance Dogsledding, north of Haliburton Lake on the doorstep of Algonquin Park
- Whistler Dog Sledding Tours – Soo Valley near Whistler.
If you would like to recommend any other places to go dogsledding, post it on the discussions area, or submit an article about your dogsledding experience.