Travelling in the summer is a given. Summer holiday comes along, you pack your bags and go off on your adventure to discover the great unknown that lies beyond your comfort zone. But have you ever given a second thought on exploring the great white North in the winter?
Throughout the past month, we've been covering all the great winter activities and events that are happening in our beautiful homelands of Québec that you should not be missing out on. We're sure that this one will leave you wanting to pack your bags or instead, make you want to book those vacation days a little differently in the near future.
Dog sledding in Québec is the popular activity many residents and travelers take part in throughout winter and in order to get the inside scoop on what many call an experience of a lifetime, we spoke to the experts. Mushers Steeve Nolin, from Aventure plein air Inukshuk, and Laurent Caouette, from Chenil La Poursuite, work with us when organizing dogsledding for our travellers visiting Québec. We asked them to share some of their knowledge and experiences with us on dog sledding.
1) Why do you think winter travellers should experience dog sledding in Québec?
Steeve - Travellers coming to Québec during the winter should experience dogsledding. Leading your own team of dogs throughout the magical wooden trails of the forest is truly a unique and exhilarating experience. It's a very special moment and opportunity for people to visit a pack of a hundred dogs working as a team and ultimately see how playful and loving huskies are, especially with people.
Laurent - At Chenil, we believe that everyone visiting Québec should take advantage of dog sledding as it is truly an incredible experience that few people have the chance to take part in. Dogsledding is a wonderful sport, it's great for students to be a team leader and experiencing this as a teenager will surely live long in their memory.
2) What do students, teachers, and travellers learn and take from experiencing dog sledding?
Steeve - People learn how to drive a sled and more importantly, they learn that pulling a sled is not a task for these dogs but their passion. Dogsledding is a dog's way of life. They have such joy pulling the sled and rushing through the snowy winter trails even if they've only just met you and you're a first-time sledder.
Laurent - Before sledding, everyone learns about how dogsledding works and all about how the dogs are trained, why they're positioned the way they are in the pack etc. After this information session, they're encouraged to pet our puppies and dogs so they can be more confident in the presence of them. Students love dog sledding because it gives them an opportunity to be a leader and show their responsibility of being safe while still having fun. Every student takes this seriously and is very proud once the dog sledding experience comes to an end.
3) What is your favorite dog sledding story or moment?
Steeve - We always insist on proper attire and warm apparel for dog sledding. I will always remember, we had a tourist from Mexico who refused to wear boots for his sled ride. At some point during the ride, this gentleman had lost his loafer-style shoe in the snow and had to stand barefoot on the brake to stop the sled and pick up his shoe. Now, of course, the brakes are made of metal and the temperature is at -20 * C made this break pretty cold. Until this day, I don't think this gentleman has forgotten his ride with us and I always use this story to strongly advise proper attire.
Laurent - People are placed two by two in the sled, the driver, and the passenger. The guide became aware that the driver in the sled behind fell in the snow on a sharp curve and the passenger was left without a driver. The guide continued advancing so he could tie his sleigh on a tree and started running to catch the sled behind him. The passenger did not even realize the driver had fallen because he was looking strangely at the guide for running towards their sled. When he turned around and saw his friend running far behind, unable to run as fast as the dogs, the passenger couldn't stop laughing. There were no injuries, just a really good laugh!
The dog sledding winter season officially kicks off in the month of January. For more information about dogsledding; visit their websites which include an entire list of other winter activities they offer.