Beginners’ Guide to Dog Sledding
Posted on Mon 19 Apr 2021
Exploring the world is a fantastic thing and we are all about unique experiences at Untravelled Paths. Adventures can be taken at any point of the year with the colder months being the perfect opportunity to trial some winter activities such as; skiing, ice skating and dog sledding. The experience of mushing can be daunting especially to beginners, so in this blog we are going to look into what to expect on a Husky experience, from what to wear, how to treat the dogs and how to master the skill of sledding, before you know it you’ll be an experienced musher in no time!
The Best Places for Dog Sledding
There are numerous places for dog sledding all over the world, with the most popular places being; Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Alaska. Few people know about the more affordable sledding option in Slovenia, our husky experience takes places in the meandering mountains on the border between Slovenia and Italy. Slovenia is the perfect place for mushing, Lake Bled is a well-known tourist destination and during the summer months is packed with tourists enjoying the crystal-clear waters. During the winter months, it’s transformed into a winter wonderland haven, with visitors being able to ice-skate, ski and enjoy the picturesque attractions covered in snow.
What to Wear
Firstly, it is important to layer up so that you can wrap up warm, at points, the wind will be incredibly strong, and you’ll feel the cold very quick. The key areas to focus on are the hands, face and feet, which are the areas that get the coldest the quickest. Thermal underclothes, waterproof snowsuits or ski jackets, woolly hats, snug gloves and thermal socks are all common sledding attire. Shoes are the most important feature; you want to opt for warm boots but not snow boots, as wide shoes aren’t the perfect type of shoe for sledding. Waterproof clothing is essential as at points you may need to push the sledge to help the dogs, remember you’re a team!
How to Treat the Dogs
On arrival at any kennel, the best way to get acquainted with the dogs is to give them a cuddle! Contrary to belief, Huskies are one of the most lovable breeds of dogs and enjoy nothing more getting to know new people. You’ll be working as part of a team with the dogs, as you can imagine sledding is tiring for the dogs and sometimes, you’ll need to lend them a hand, hence requiring warm, waterproof clothing.
Preparing for the Ride
After touring the kennels, a theoretical lesson will take place where you learn how to use the brakes, how powerful a pack of huskies can be, why you should never let go of the reins and what to expect during your ride.
Common Dog Sledding Phrases
A few of the common phrases you’ll hear experienced mushers saying while sledding are:
Hike = Go
Gee = Turn right
Haw = Turn left
Easy = Slow down
Whoa = Stop
*Kissing sound* = Go faster
What to Expect on the Ride
It’s essential to remember that huskies are incredibly powerful and that they’ve been trained to run, so you should expect to go fast. The most important thing to remember is not to let go of the brakes, as you’re in control of the pack, mushers tend to not release the brake fully until a few minutes into the ride so that the Huskies know who’s in control. This is the perfect way for beginners to dictate the pace they feel most comfortable travelling at. On our husky experience, you’ll get the chance to drive your own sledge with 3-4 dogs, with the ride being a truly thrilling experience!
We hope this blog has given you an insight into how incredible dog sledding can be and give you an idea of what to pack on your tour. Here at Untravelled Paths, we offer something different, somewhere different. With all of our travel itineraries being crafted by experienced travellers who are knowledgeable in each area. If you have any other questions about dog sledding, Slovenia in general or about any of our experiences, don’t hesitate to give our friendly team a shout!
Read more from our blog here