Try Something new This Winter | Go Dog Sledding
Skiing, snowboarding, sledding and ice skating are some of the sports we think of most often when considering winter activities. However, one great winter activity that we rarely consider is dog sledding. Dog sledding has a very long history, and it has been used as a form of travel for hundreds of years. Today dog sledding is less of mode of transportation than it is a sport.
A dog sled is basically a sled with runners sticking out the back, which is pulled by one or more dogs. The runners on the back of the sled are where the musher, or driver of the sled, stands. There are different types of sleds, some designed for racing and some designed for transporting freight, called freight sleds. These are only two of many different sled designs. As time has passed, the design for these sleds has been modified to more effectively suit a desired purpose. This has included the adaptation of brakes for these sleds.
The most important part of a dog sled is the team of dogs that pulls the sled. These teams are assembled very carefully. Most dog sleds use Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes. Each team starts with a lead dog. These dogs are highly prized and are chosen for their special qualities. After the lead dog, the wheel dogs, swing dogs, and point dogs are chosen. The wheel dogs are chosen for their power, their job is to pull the sled out from the snow. Point dogs are optional and in the team they are placed behind the lead dog. The swing dogs are behind the point dogs, and the wheel dogs are placed in the back of the team. All of these dogs have to be able to work together as a team, and all are highly trained and willing to work.
Probably the most famous and well known dog sledding event is the Iditarod. The Iditarod brings together the most experienced and talented dog sledding teams in the world. They race across the Iditarod trail which covers over 1,150 miles of some of the world's most extreme terrain. The people who choose to participate in this event have to be truly courageous and tough. They complete the entire trip in anywhere between 10 and 17 days, a truly amazing feat.
You do not have to be an expert musher or as experienced as the sledders of the Iditarod are to enjoy the sport of dog sledding. Many places in the United States that have cold and snowy winters have companies that offer dog sledding experiences. These people have assembled teams and can put together short or long trips. You can enjoy winter camping while you travel from place to place on a dog sled, or you can travel between comfy lodges.
Dog sledding is a sport that is accessible to everyone. There are options ranging from the inexperienced to the advanced. No matter what your level of experience, you are sure to have a great trip with the team of dogs you get to drive and all the other mushers and dog sledding teams you have the opportunity to interact with.