When I was a teenager, I went to a winter camp where we were supposed to participate in dog sledging. Sounds cool right? Except there never was enough slow, so that was that. We could pet the dogs though, I guess that counts for something 🙂
That always left me frustrated and I have since put dog sledging on my unofficial bucket list, as Pat has known for quite some time. So when we were in Lulea, Sweden, for this winter holidays, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity. So we found this website offering various activities, among which, dog sledging.
When we arrived in this huge kennel in the middle of nowhere, we realized it was a small family-run business. All the better. The dogs were barking like crazy, so excited to go. What a difference with the neurasthenic reindeers pulling sledges in the Christmas village of Rovaniemi. Dogs are really made to do this.
There would be 3 sledges to run : 2 for couples who would run their own slegde, and the third for a coupe who would be only passengers (how boring…). Running the sledges looked simple enough. Of course the dogs would follow the lead snowmobile, you couldn’t guide them left or right, the only thing you could do was brake. Anyway, there we left, for 1.5 hour of fun and speed in the snow. It was barely freezing, so the snow had melt and froze again several time, making for very icy tracks, which means great speed. In fact, the owners had reduced the number of dogs per sledge.
It was a good thing that it was barely 0 degrees celcius outside. Because with the wind, our faces and hands got quickly cold. I thought I could avoid putting gloves on… well, after 2 minutes of riding, I changed my mind…
It was easy to control the sledge, with one exception: the foot holders were gathering snow quickly, which made it harder to stand and to brake when needed. You had to periodically push the snow off. Our dogs were fast, in fact there were faster than the sledge in front of us and we often had to brake to avoid catching up with them. At one point, they slowed down a lot, in a slight downward slope, and I couldn’t brake enough. Our dogs actually overtook them and we got in front. Good to know that we could control our dogs…. Well, I did finally manage to stop them and let the others get their first place back. it was fun!
After too short a time we had to go back. The owners invited us to some tea, coffee and cakes, in their own living room where their 2 sons were lazily watching some random tv shows couch potato style. There were a few dogs with them, including the cutest puppies.
It was a very nice experience, the energy of the dogs was infectious. We really enjoyed ourselves.Raph’