Dogsledding- What it is and Where to Do It
Is there anything cuter than sled dogs? We think not. But don’t let these fuzzy friends fool you, they’re hardcore. Sled dog racing is a sport called the “Last Great Race on Earth,” with the crowning jewel being the Iditarod in Alaska, over 1150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain on Earth that pits man and animal against nature. Led by a musher, a team of Siberian Huskies or Alaskan malamutes participates in three types of races- a sprint, mid-distance or long distance (over 1,000 miles). Races are categorized not only by distance, but by the maximum number of dogs allowed in each team. The most usual categories are four-dog, six-dog, eight-dog, ten-dog, and unlimited (also called open). If you’re a beginner, many vacation spots give lessons, tours or dogsled rides so here are some of the best places to learn.
Where to Go Dogsledding
Yukon Territory, Canada- All tours start with an introduction to your team, overview of the sled, harnessing lesson, and the fundamentals of handling this raw, natural, dog power. Within minutes you’ll be whisked away with your own team and will be enthusiastically yelling the commands.
Greenland- Dog sledding is a classically Greenlandic way to travel, and an ancient form of transport. A country without roads, dog sledding is one of the main forms of transportation- in addition to helicopters and boats. When journeying through the frozen fjords hunting seal and polar bear, to travel by dog is an adventure in itself. After a few days in Tasiilaq (East Greenland), you can even qualify for your own dogsledding license!
Alaska- A must see-part of any authentic Alaska vacation, Alaska is the American birthplace of dogsledding. Alaskadogsled.com is the oldest glacier dog mushing operation and only helicopter dog mushing operator in Seward, Alaska. What this means is you can combine “flightseeing” to the wilderness and then wild open spaces to experience Alaska through the “local perspective” lead by your team of sled dogs.
Minnesota- Head north to take a tour of the white wilderness in the boundary waters, Duluth or Ely. Perfect for all ages, if you don’t want to travel too far, a Midwest getaway is just what the doctor ordered. Chosen as a “Top 10 Adventure Bargain” by Smarter Travel and “Top 10 Small Outdoor Business” by Outside magazine, Wintergreen Lodge is an outfitter to remember.
Upper Peninsula, MI- Love the Midwest? Explore the hand state on a Michigan dog sledding tour around the 11,000 frozen inland lakes or spend a weekend on a dog sledding tour throughout Michigan's brilliant, snow-covered National forests. Guests have the choice of taking a 1/2 day, full day, or overnight adventure with a guide in front of each group leading the pack.