With the wealth of options in the Yukon, the question isn’t CAN you go dog sledding. The question is: what kind of dog sledding do you want to do?
If you’re short on time, schedule an afternoon ride sitting in the sled under a mound of blankets snapping photos. Want something more hands-on? Take a day-long class where you’ll learn to care for the dogs and how to drive a team. If you’re hoping to connect with the land and its history, embark on an overnight excursion for some winter camping under the Northern Lights — don’t forget your parka!
As of Nov. 20, 2020, travel to the Yukon is unrestricted, but newcomers must self-isolate for 14 days. If you live in the Yukon, this is the perfect winter to take up a new sport, give dog sledding a try, and learn how to safely and compassionately care for a dog team. If you live further south, start planning now to make your next trip unforgettable!
Every dog has its day
A dozen operators surrounding Whitehorse offer no-experience-necessary dog sled experiences, if you’re looking for something convenient and close to amenities. Find a full list at travelyukon.com. But if you’re curious about something a little out-of-the-ordinary, check out these three wild adventures and start making plans for 2021.
- Yukoner Special: Alayuk Adventures offers a steal of a deal to Yukoners this winter: 10 one-hour sessions for just $300. You’ll learn how to take care of the dogs to keep them happy, healthy and strong, and you’ll learn how to drive a sled. Over the course of your lessons you’ll also enjoy hours out on the land. Owner Marcelle Fressineau has raised sled dogs for more than 30 years, and she’s completed both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod — the two biggest races in dog sledding.
- Sing for your Supper: Way, way up north in Old Crow, a fly-in community on the migration path of the Porcupine Caribou, you’ll find Josie’s Old Crow Adventures. The year-round adventure company is run by Paul Josie, a member of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, and his wife Bree. Try a dog sled adventure, a cultural excursion, a land and water tour, or a mix of all three! Along with the spectacular scenery and the happy dogs, you’ll learn about Gwitchin culture and hear traditional stories. On the Traditional Ice Fishing tour you’ll join local Elders on the Porcupine River, and learn how the Gwitchin sing for fish. Due to COVID-19, Josie’s is currently open to locals and Yukoners only.
- Embark on a Quest: Competing in the Yukon Quest or Iditarod takes months of training, years of experience and serious survival skills… but watching these races takes much less preparation and is still a huge thrill! Muktuk Adventures offers a spectacular 15-day tour across the territory chasing the Yukon Quest: meeting the mushers, sledding on the actual Quest trail and following the racers through checkpoints. The Yukon Quest may be cancelled for 2021, but mark this trip down for your bucket list. Another operator, Tagish Lake Kennel, sometimes offers an immersive Iditarod experience with world class mushers Michelle Phillips and Ed Hopkins. The Iditarod is still tentatively scheduled for March 2021.