Sunday, March 13, 2011

3-13-11 The Dog Sledding Escape

In February Denver Magazine featured an article on dog sledding, so for the past month Deanna and I have been plotting our escape.

Today was the day.

Deanna's daughter, Olivia, who is 6, and Sammi made the trip with us.

The goal was a NO downers/worry-free zone.

When I got up this morning and checked the online traffic cam, a portion of the highway where we were headed was closed. By the time we set out, though, it was showing movement, so off we went. There were a number of slow going spots, and one "WIDE AWAKE NOW!!!" moment when I thought we were about to hit the guy in front of us and get hit from behind at the same time, but we all managed to get stopped. Two cars ahead of us, not so lucky.

Good Times runs their dog sledding operation just north of Breckenridge, at the end of Tiger Run road, in White River National Forest (elevation 11585 feet, sah-LUTE!) They also provide free snow suits, snow boots, and helmets (also for snow mobiling) and a free shuttle from town. If you're up there skiing, be sure and check them out.

Lorena was our guide and it was the four of us with a couple, Bernadette and Ferdinand, who had spent the previous day on the snow mobiles. The operation is pretty simple. You stand on either side of the sled runners behind the seat, and step to the center on the steel bar to brake, which sends a claw contraption into the snow and alerts the dogs to stop.

While Bernadette and Fernando rode and drove, the four of us were in the sleigh pulled by a snowmobile, which was also a fun ride over the hills and bumps.

There are four positions on the dog sledding team for the pups:

Lead dogs are very aggressive AND very smart.  (Judah and Bonelli) Judah is still young in the lead role and kept turning back to look at all the other dogs. She was reprimanded over and over with "Judah! On TRAIL!"

Second position dogs are a little less aggressive, still pretty smart, and might, if they are still young, learn enough to end up in the lead spot some day. (Quincy and Fergie, one of the "hip hop litter" that also included Biggie and Nelly.)

Third position dogs are just aggressive, but not particularly smart and need to just run their guts out behind the ones who are thinking. (Itasca, with partial ear, and below her, Scarlett who was just gorgeous)

Fourth position dogs are the sweet dunces of the class who can lend some muscle when asked. (Maverick, the lone male of our group and Georgia rounded out our party.)

The rides can be as wild or as tame as your party prefers. Olivia was very apprehensive about helping the drive the team at first, but after a taste, she couldn't wait to get back up there.

We didn't manage blue skies this time, and the snow kept on coming down until almost the end of our trek. That didn't seem to dampen a bit of the fun, though.

Sammi got some goggles for her second round. . .

Doggie-booty cam

By the time we stopped for lunch, the sun was shining. Go figure.

After lunch we stopped in at the convenience store in Frisco and refilled the washer fluid which had emptied on the way up (imagine running the washer about every five minutes on a two hour drive on slushy roads -- you hit empty a lot faster.)

We'd also planned to do some letterboxing, since there three right around the Tiger Run area, but with all the snow fall, hunting for boxes under junipers that are under 4-6 feet of snow wasn't quite the adventure we were after today.

Maybe come summer. . .


  1. Looked like so much fun!

    My Aunty and Uncle have 9 siberian huskies and they do the whole sledding thing too. We are in Sydney Australia and they spent quiet a bit of time during winter around the snow and forest reserves. Their dog trailer is hilarious!

    Stopping by on the blog hop with a book, a girl a journey.

  2. That looked like a blast! Thank you so much for sharing all of the great pics and giving us a play by play so we could all go dog-sledding vicariously through you.

  3. Oh, so jealous! I totally want to try that sometime. Maybe I will when I go to visit my in-laws in Woodland Park. We often go through that area on the way to their house. So fun!