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Dogsledding

Dogsledding through Banff National Park is a classically Canadian activity that is a must do for any travellers to Banff and Lake Louise

Dogsledding in Banff and Lake Louise

The dogs didn’t seem bothered by the fresh dusting of snow on the ground. Their warm breath hung in the cool air as they eagerly pulled the sled along the trail. Apart from the jingle of the dogs’ collars, the pitter-patter of paws on the snow and the occasional command from the musher, your team glides on in silence, navigating its way through the stillness of the snow-covered forest. The trees thin and the sled floats into the vast expanse of a snow-covered lake backed by soaring rugged mountains. It’s really quite surreal - how often are you pulled on a sled by a team of dogs through the most awe-inspiring landscape you’ve ever seen? 

Travelling by the power of dogs is a remarkable experience. Originally used as a means of transport by the Inuit people of the Canadian Arctic and the early settlers of Banff, dogsledding has since been adopted as a recreational activity well suited to the snowy slopes of the Canadian Rockies.

The relentless energy of the dogs is contagious - with their excited barks and howls echoing across the serene mountain valleys. – Oscar Kornyei,  the Daily Mail UK 

This unique experience can be tranquil at some times, and exhilarating and delightfully chaotic at others. Dogsledding is a must-do activity for any traveller, but especially so for dog-lovers or those wanting to experience a classically Canadian activity. Explore the rich history, culture, and techniques of dogsledding as your musher and dog team guide you through the incredible scenery of the Canadian Rockies. 

Experience

Each tour begins by spending time meeting and getting to know the team of dogs that will take you into the frozen wilderness. Challenge yourself to remember the dogs’ names – each one plays an integral part of the team and you may make a new furry friend! Then, help your musher get the dogs ready for tour by harnessing and hooking your team up to the sled. Once on the trail, try your hand at mushing your very own team of Alaskan huskies or cocoon yourself in blankets and relax as your experienced musher guides your team through the mountains.

Not only are the dogs incredible, but so too are the highly trained mushers. Ask your guide about the history, techniques, and subtleties of dogsledding  – they are extremely knowledgeable and the close relationships between musher and dogs are especially engaging. 

 ...the quintessential Canadian adventure, dog sledding in the Rocky Mountains of the Canadian North. Dave and Deb, theplanetd.com

Several dogsledding companies operate in Banff and Lake Louise, each offering a variety of tours ranging from a brisk half-hour jaunt to full-day excursions. Explore the Great Divide trail by venturing to the border of British Columbia and Alberta or cross the frozen expanses of the Spray Lakes with your team of intrepid huskies. Each tour operator will provide warm clothing and blankets to ward off the cold, and, depending on the length of your trip a lunch or hot beverage may be provided. 

Tips for the Trail

Although you will be snugged up in the low-slung sled, dress very warmly! Gloves are an absolute essential, as are sturdy winter boots – especially if you’d like to try your hand at mushing your own team. 

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