Please see our Rides Update page for important changes about our dog sled rides for this winter.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
A: Since we are a small kennel with a limited number of dogs who also race, we must limit our rides and freight weight. Passengers need to weigh a total of about 200 pounds fully dressed in warm winter gear & boots. Young kids over age 3 are welcome to ride with an adult. We ask all guests to be honest with your weight when you send in your reservation form. (We will consider this "sensitive" private information, not to be shared.)
All our rides are private tours—usually one ride per day. We usually take out 1 sled on a ride.
A: Siberian Huskies like it cold (ideally, below 20 F), so we prefer to run as early as possible in the mornings. If possible, we like to meet our guests at 8:00 am, but a later meeting time can usually be arranged. Rides are available any day of the week. A lot of people are looking for rides on the weekends, so if you are able to, consider a weekday ride. Plan on a 2- to 3-hour experience which includes the introductory preparations and your lesson to the world of sled dogs, hands-on experience of harnessing the dogs, etc. We'll discuss your specific meeting time and length of ride when we schedule your booking. (Sometimes we offer longer runs, based on temperatures, trail conditions, passenger weight, our training/racing schedule, etc.)
We usually offer one dog sled ride for passengers on a given day. Sometimes that might be followed by a skijoring lesson for a person and their dog which is booked for later that morning or early afternoon. (Skijoring info is on our website as well.)
Let us know if you have any special requests and we'll let you know if we can accommodate your desires.
A: We do offer an option if the total weight is over 200 pounds: Do either or both prospective passengers cross-country ski or snowshoe? One person can ride in the dog sled to the halfway point, then switch with the other person who is snowshoeing or x-c skiing along with or behind the team. We've done this with families with great success, who plan on returning for another ride with us.
A: We offer rides with you as a passenger—but if you're comfortable with dogs, we will teach you how to help us so this becomes a hands-on participatory experience for you. If you wish, you may help harness and hitch the dogs, plus help snack and water the team after the ride. If you prefer, you can just get comfy in the enclosed sled bag and we'll do all the work. In either case, expect to have fun. Bring a camera for the gorgeous scenic vistas and woods.
It is possible, however, for mushing, even as a passenger, to be physically demanding. Trail conditions may change daily or even hourly due to weather conditions. Passengers may be asked to get out of the sled and walk or even help push the sled, especially if there is a hill. (Consider it part of the mushing experience, if you should be so lucky.) You should be in good physical condition. The dogs are strong, but there are limits to their ability to pull. Our job as mushers, as part of the team, is to make it easy on the dogs.
Tours are usually 6-10 miles, but may range from 4-12 miles, using a 4-, 6-, or 8-dog team, depending upon conditions. A 2½-3 hr. experience starts with the pre-ride introduction to mushing, safety instruction, getting the gear ready (and answering your questions), meeting and petting the dogs, getting the dogs harnessed and hitched to the sled. Helping is encouraged as part of the fun—as long as you are comfortable with that. This part of the experience takes about 45-60 minutes. The length of time on the trail is up to the dogs, and is based on the specific trail and terrain we're running, the trail conditions, and the weather conditions. You'll be on the trail for approximately one hour or more, depending on the length of the trail and everything mentioned above. When we return to the dog truck there's time for a hot beverage, more questions and of course, lots of hugs and pets for the hard working dogs who provided such fun.
A: Dress as if you were going downhill (Alpine) skiing. Wear layers of warm winter clothes and winter snow boots for walking in deep snow. You can always shed or add a layer to adjust your comfort level. We’ll be moving anywhere from 25-5 mph, so start off dressed like it’s a cold, windy day.
A: Dress as if you were going cross country skiing--because you are. Bring or wear some extra layers of warm winter clothes and wear your warm winter snow boots for walking in deep snow and standing around talking before and after your guides skiing lesson. Dress warm and for the weather. You can always shed or add a layer to adjust your comfort level.
Bring/wear a fanny or day pack for your extra clothes, water bottle, energy snack, and treat for your dog. We’ll have extra water and bowls for the dogs--or bring your own.
Bring your dog on a leash and wearing its collar and ID tags. Dogs must be kept on a leash or attached skijoring line (if you have your own skijoring gear.) You will need to bring (or fax) a copy of your dog’s rabies innoculation certification to show it is current. (FAX to us at: 802-496-3765 with your name, dog’s name, & date of scheduled lesson.)
Bring your x-c ski equipment: x-c skis (NO METAL EDGES allowed), poles, boots, and x-c wax kit (unless you are using waxless skis.)
You will change into your cross country ski boots which match your x-c ski bindings.
If you need something from the above list, please visit one of our local outdoor shops that sell and/or rent clothing and gear. Some are listed on the local Chamber of Commerce website www.madrivervalley.com.
A: We are located in the Mad River Valley, a scenic, rural farming and ski resort community. From south to north on Route 100 & Route 100B, the villages and towns of Warren, Waitsfield, Fayston, Moretown, Duxbury, and Waterbury are part of our community and school district. The northern spine of the Green Mountains forms our western border, the Northfield Ridge the eastern, and the Mad River flows through the Valley. We have multiple trail routes that are available to us and we will select the best trails based on the current snow and trail conditions for the safety of both dogs and passengers. Some of the available trails are located in the Green Mountain National Forest, just to the south of us, which offer a wilderness experience - with a few more fun hills involved (which requires helping the dogs by pushing the sled uphill at times.) We will give you directions for where to meet us and then we will lead you to the starting point for your dog sled adventure with us.
Here are a few links to help you with your trip to the Mad River Valley for your sled dog adventure:
A: Mushers are dependent upon the cooperation of Mother Nature for favorable running temperatures, safe trail and snow conditions for the dogs. Bookings are arranged with the caveat that rides are held only if it's safe for both dogs and passengers.
Please refer to the cancellation policy on our "Rates for Rides" page on this website.
do request a 50% deposit if you are booking well in advance.
A: Send us an email and ask for our scheduling form. Let us know:
We will try our best to accommodate you based on our availability due to other scheduled clients (or our occasional participation in a sled dog race.)
look forward to hearing from you.
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This page last updated Dec. 12, 2007.