See the world from a whole new perspective when you take a dog sled ride with our friends at Dog Sled Rides Of Winter Park.
This top notch outfit offers daily rides all year round and homes approximately 70 happy, healthy, Siberian Huskeys, who clearly love their day job.
Some of our staff at Winter Park Lodging Company were lucky enough to take a ride with the pack recently, and haven’t stopped talking about it since.
As soon as you drive into the kennels, the dogs know that a ride is right around the corner, and you can see them getting all amped up with excited anticipation, jumping up and down and howling into the air. After signing in, we were given the opportunity to love on some of the younger dogs (‘the welcoming committee’) while our mushers selected dogs for the ride, and started hooking up the sleds.
Then it was time for us to get in on the action, and we were shown to the sleds; each sled can carry up to 350 lbs, so most couples, and parents & kids can generally ride together.
The tallest rider sits at the back of the sled, with the smaller rider sitting between their legs, and back pads inserted between you to keep things comfortable for everyone. Then you’re carefully wrapped up in a thick burrito of fleece and wool, which is so ridiculously cozy and comfortable, it’s not uncommon for kids to doze off during the ride.
As we get closer and closer to ‘Go-Time’, the electricity in the air is tangible as the dogs strain against their tethers, and reach a fever pitch of barking. Then, all of a sudden, we feel a whoosh, and we’re off! An unbelievable silence falls, as the dogs take off and immediately settle into work, no more barking, just the sound of pounding paws on the trail as we leave the kennels behind us.
The thing I notice straight away is the fluid motion of the sled, no sudden jarring or changes in speed, just the whistle of the wind as you glide through the meadows and weave through pine groves. There’s maybe two inches between my rear and the snow, and I’ve never been so comfortable in my life! Being so low to the ground, and close to the pack, makes you feel like you are running alongside the dogs, but you still feel completely at ease thanks to the undeniable partnership between musher and his team.
A quick word to the lead dogs from our musher, and we whip left or right through the spider web of trails, that allow each musher to split their sleds off in different directions, giving each guest sled an individual experience…only occasionally catching a glimpse of another sled in the distance (a spectacular sight in itself).
The ride lasts for approximately 45 minutes and offers stunning views of the mountains and surrounding vistas from one of the most peaceful settings within the Fraser valley. Once in a while, the musher would take pause on the trail to let the pack enjoy a quick roll in the snow (tails wagging, tongues happily hanging from their mouths), and its a great time to ask about the personalities of your team of dogs. Every dog is different, and all the staff know every one their individual personalities and history (most of the dogs were bred and raised on the ranch).
Perhaps the best moment for me came at the end of the ride, when guests are encouraged to say thank you to the pack with a friendly pet and kind words. The dogs love human touch, and it bowled me over just how much these working dogs loved the affection; it makes it so abundantly clear that they are well handled and love their lives.
If you are looking for a truly unique and memorable experience during your visit to Winter Park, we highly recommend you try a dog sled ride with our friends at Dog Sled Rides Of Winter Park.
Sled prices range from $150 to $210 per sled; and tours depart daily at 9.10, 10.30, 12 noon, 1.45, 3.15 & 4.30 (top tip…the dogs are at their most lively during the early morning ride due to that fresh chill in the air).
Dog Sled Rides Of Winter Park are located in Fraser, and have a world of information and online booking available at www.dogsledridesofwinterpark.com. They can also be contacted by telephone at 970-726-8326.
Chris February 7th, 2014