With Valentine’s Day still lingering in the air, there can be no more romantic way to spend a couple of hours than being tucked up with your loved one in a cozy sled while being whisked through the Canadian Rockies by your new Alaskan Husky friends.
Dog sledding, officially known as mushing, is a fantastic way to enjoy the scenic Canadian Rockies, and is much more exciting than a table for two at your local Italian. Set in the pristine wilderness around Lake Louise, The Great Divide Tour lasts 90 minutes and covers two provinces (Alberta, BC) in the 16km round trip.
With average day temperatures in the winter months being well below the freezing mark, and the huskies hitting speeds of up to 20kms per hour it is best to dress warm! While you are tucked up under a thick winter sleeping bag next to your partner (or if not your partner, your soon to be best friend – the sleds are a little cosy!), it is certainly worth bringing at least a neck warmer, woolly hat and sunglasses / ski goggles to fend off Old Man Winter.
It’s also recommended to arrive early so you get plenty of time to socialise with the huskies (i.e. try to take a selfie with the cutest pup). We were surprised how small the dogs were but later found out that the leaner Alaskan Husky can pull 3 times their own body weight and can cover up to 100 miles in a day! The bigger Siberian Huskies (also known as ‘Hollywood huskies’ according to our guide!) can only manage half of that!
After an inaudible safety talk due to the incessant barking created by the over-excited huskies we set off at breakneck speed and finally got the chance to ask our super friendly guide, Evelyn from Quebec, the hundreds of questions we had for her!
The route follows the old narrow Highway 1 road up to the Great Divide arch, which marks the boundary between BC and Alberta. While enjoying the stunning peaks around us, we soon learnt “gee” means right and “haw” means left, and that sometimes amusingly even the professional dogs get this mixed up!
On the return leg through the Narnia-like forest, we were offered the chance to drive the sleds, which was amazing fun! Just remember that as soon as the snow brake is released, the dogs are off, so make sure you are ready or it’s a long walk back to your car! Stop does not seem to be a command the dogs know, or maybe they simply choose to ignore given their instincts to just run!
Standing on skis looking over 8 huskies moving effortlessly at 20kph you can feel the appeal of life as a musher and start to dream of competing in the famous 1000-mile Yukon Quest race from Fairbanks (Alaska) to Whitehorse (Yukon). However, with extreme cold temperatures, 3000ft mountain climbs and at least 12 days of racing alone involved, it might not quite tick the romance box!