This past year for Christmas, instead of getting material gifts, my husband and I decided to gift each other with an experience: Something fun that we can do together. My husband’s gift was this dog sledding (aka mushing) adventure in Stratton Mountain here in Southern Vermont.
This was both of our first times sledding dogs so we had no idea what to expect. Having not grown up in such a cold climate and a place where sledding dogs is common, I scoured the internet to find information as to how I should prepare for it.
Surprisingly, in the articles that I found, all they talked about was ways to prevent accidents during mushing. While I agree that avoiding accidents is an important topic, I was looking for more of the basic information like what to wear, how long it will be, what to take along with me, etc.
So here I am today answering the questions I had with the hopes of helping people who are first timers like we were. Before I go further, I want to acknowledge the fact that these photos aren’t my best as it was -10 F degrees. There was no way I could handle the frost bite more than a few minutes so this was the best I could do with my gloves on. Also, I suspect that your mushing experience might be different in a different place, but I still think that some of the notes below still might help.
Three Things to Expect When Sledding Dogs In Stratton Mountain:
- Timing – It will be at a later time of the day and that is a good thing:
We were asked to be there at 4pm, literally right before it went dark. I was thinking that it was way too late (and much colder than the daytime), but later we found out that the reason was because the course that we were going to ride on was the same one that cross country skiers used. So we had to wait for it to close. Though I have to say, we thought that the timing was perfect as it was so peaceful. Also, we were told that it is an incredible experience to this at night during the full moon. Next time, we plan on giving that a try.
- What to wear? – Layering is a good idea, but… :
If I am being perfectly honest, I was intimidated by the negative temperatures, but we were told that if we layer, wear hats, gloves, and face masks, we should be fine. While that was true, even with all that clothing, it was still hard to keep our hands and toes warm. In the end, my toes were so cold that they were hurting. So my advice to you is to make sure to take some hand and toe warmers with you. In our town, they sell them in supermarkets and gift shops or you can order it from amazon.
- 30-miles an hour fun:
We had 8 Alaskan and Siberian huskies in our sled. We were told that the climate in Southern Vermont fits into the natural habitat of these animals. As we were preparing for our trip the dogs were barking the whole time. I was a little terrified of 8 dogs barking at the top of their lungs, but our musher told us that they were just so excited and eager to get going. Later we discovered that these well conditioned huskies were able to run at the top speeds of 30 miles per hour, which created an open air exhalation that left us wanting more.
There are several people offer dog sledding experience in Stratton Mountain area. The one we used was a gentleman named Cory, who we thought was great. The whole experience was a little over half an hour and costed us $80 per person. He offers longer tours and options for doing this with kids.
All in all, this was a great experience that left us wanting more. If your travels ever take you to our neck of the woods in winter, I cannot recommend this fun activity enough.