Photo Credit: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane
Wrapped up like a warm, human burrito in a dog sled, I’m careening through a narrow forest trail with six dogs at the helm. As a fork appears ahead of us in the trail, my guide shouts out a command and the dogs at the front veer left. As both a dog lover and a fan of anything outdoors, I can’t help but think – this is pretty cool.
Dogsledding in Whistler offers a completely unique way to explore the backcountry in a perfectly safe environment. Unlike many of Whistler’s more “extreme” winter activities, dog sledding isn’t necessarily adrenaline-pumping – but it will give you a rush unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Here’s why you should check dog sledding off your bucket list when you come to Whistler.
It’s a Uniquely Northern Experience
In the days before snowmobiles, dogsledding was a bona fide form of transportation in Canada’s remote northern communities. Dogsledding culture is still very much alive in Canada, with races and expeditions taking place to this very day (if you’re as lucky as I was, your Whistler guide may have partaken in an expedition or two and will be willing to share some stories). Hopping in a dog sled in Whistler will give you an appreciation for the sport and will help you feel connected to Canadian heritage.
The Dogs Are Awesome
If you’ve got a four-legged friend of your own, you’ll go nuts over the adorable Alaskan Huskies at the kennel.
As you’ll learn from your guide, these dogs are specifically bred for their speed, intelligence, and obedience – and they’re ridiculously cute. As with all dogs, each has its own personality. You’ll get to know each dog on your team by name, and it won’t take long for each pup to reveal its little quirks.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – the guides form incredible bonds with these dogs and are happy to tell you all about them.
Experience the Callaghan
Visitors who arrive to Whistler by way of Vancouver will pass by the Callaghan valley on their way up – but few get the opportunity to stop and explore this stunning area, which features an endless maze of trails and picture perfect panoramic views. Dog sledding gives you the opportunity to explore the Callaghan, capturing a side of Whistler that most visitors – and many residents, in fact – don’t get to experience.
Keep it Mellow, or Take Control
If you’re not a fan of heights, crazy speeds, or jumping off platforms into the abyss, then dogsledding will be right up your alley. It’s a non-extreme way of experiencing the great Canadian outdoors, and the pace is just the right balance of fast enough to be exciting, but slow enough to take in all your surroundings.
If you want to spice up your adventure, you have the option of learning to drive the dog sled on your own. Your guide will teach you the basics of commanding the sled, and before you know it, you’ll be standing on the back mushing your team and feeling one with the dogs.
Ready to start your dogsledding adventure? Book your tour here!