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There are some moments in life that you secretly dream about, but never actually imagine they will come true. For me, that’s been dog sledding.
Dog sledding has always been something that has fascinated me. It all goes back to when I was a kid and the movie Iron Will came out. My brother and I have probably seen it at least 100 times 🙂
So when the chance to take the kids dog sledding came up, we jumped on it (that is after I jumped up and down and screamed and hollered for a few minutes).
We took our kids on their first dog sledding experience 8 years ago, and are fortunate to keep learning more about dog sledding for kids as we’ve gone other times!
Introducing Kids To Dog Sledding With The Best Movies About Dog Sledding For Families
While the entire sport of dog sledding has been a bit hard for our kids to understand, since they only see bits and pieces, watching family movies about dog sledding has really gotten the kids more excited about sledding. If you have a kid who is interested in Dog Sledding, show them a few of these to get them more excited. These movies are especially great to watch as a family before you take your kids on a dog sledding trip:
Call Of The Wild
Our Experience at Luna Lobos Dog Sledding, Park City Utah
I discovered that Luna Lobos was nothing like I expected and considerably better than most other dog sledding businesses once we arrived. The majority of the dogs here were abandoned or surrendered by their owners. Because many of the canines have come from traumatic backgrounds or difficult circumstances, Luna Lobos’ goal is to help them feel cherished and that they have a meaning in life. DOG Sledging is only one aspect of the mission here.
When you go on a tour of Lunas Lobos, the dog sledding is only a portion of the experience. The real takeaway is from the connection with the dogs. Instead of taking us straight to the sleds, we got to go and interact with different dogs, hear their story, and get to know them a bit. We learned about different types of sled dogs, and the kids got to get up close and personal with the dogs during the entire experience.
We absolutely love their mission “Our unique experience is designed to offer families a deeper look into the world of sled dogs. We offer more than just a ride, you will get to experience what dog sledding is really all about. It is an adventure the whole family can enjoy!”
We learned about the facility and then went to meet our dogs. They were a mixed group of dogs, not like what we see in movies, and one of our dogs was blind and still able to run with the team. Even though they didn’t seem like they were bred for this job, their excitement was clear when we went out for our ride with them.
My daughter likes to do things like help me with chores. She was happy when she got a job and responsibility from the musher Jon. She helped him hook the dogs up for the day. The staff helped her because some of these dogs weigh more than she does, but she did well!
We were ready for action when we had harnessed all of the dogs. I thought that I would be riding in the back and my daughter in the basket, but when she asked if she could ride in the back, we didn’t hesitate. Jon quickly showed her how to do it and gave her instructions. He taught her how to go around curves, shift her body weight, and even how to run behind the sled.
As we began our ride, I was sitting on the sled with my daughter laughing behind me, every turn and drop eliciting a squeal from her little body. Even though our speed was moderate, she was fully engrossed in the experience and soaking up every minute of this dog sledding experience.
After running and pushing the sled all the way up the trail, both of us decided to just enjoy the ride in the basket on the way down, a trail that would be significantly faster and much more technical. As we pulled back into the base area, my heart was racing and all of us were smiling from ear to ear.
Sydney quickly hopped off the sled, hugged the dogs, and got to work unharnessing the dogs with our musher to put them away for the day.
Dog Sledding With Kids at Snow Mountain Ranch Colorado
Sadly when we got there, we were greeted with 2 feet of snow which is awesome for a ski day but bad for a dog sledding day. It makes the sleds less stable and more tippy, so after taking one look at me and my bulging belly they suggested I not ride. After puling Andrew aside and making him promise to take me on a long dog sledding trip in a few years, we pushed on.
The kids were instantly fascinated by these little dogs and their strength as we got to learn about what to do, and were introduced to the dogs. We were going out on a double driver sled which means that the kids sat on the sled with the driver behind them, and then there was another stand behind the driver for Andrew to stand on. This was the perfect set-up for everyone since the driver was really in control (and closest to the kids in case of a problem), but Andrew still got to be at the back so he could run and feel like he was in charge too!
To say that these dogs like to run is a serious understatement. While we were loading up, they were jumping and pulling like crazy. As soon as they lifted the brake, the sled rocketed forward, shooting them from stopped to full speed in just a few seconds. Right about then I swallowed my pride and admitted to myself that it was probably a good thing I didn’t go since I saw how fast it all went!
On the ride the kids got a real taste of sledding as they got to not only shout encouragement to the dogs, but also give them directions where to go. The littlest and I got to sit by the fire and watch as we occasionally caught blurs of them racing across the mountain.
Although they were only gone about 20 minutes, it was the perfect length for our young family. The kids came back with giant, ice-covered smiles, and talked about it non-stop for days.
Was it everything we dreamed it would be, and did it live up to all our hype? Absolutely! Now we’re just going to have to keep taking them since they have all fallen in love with mushing and can’t wait for a chance to go again!
How Old Do Kids Need TO Be To Go Dog Sledding?
Are you wondering “Is my child old enough to go dog sledding?” the answer is likely YES! Most sled dog companies will take kids from about age 5 and older. If you have young kids, plan on them riding on the sled, all bundled up for the ride. For kids who are a little bit older, they may be able to get a chance to actually drive the dog sled. At Lunas Lobos in Park City, my 10-year-old daughter was able to drive the sled on certain sections of our dog sledding trail and it was an amazing experience.
How Many People Can Ride On A Dog Sled?
The capacity of a sled really varies from sled to sled. At Lunas Lobos, our sled could accommodate 2 adults and 1 child. When we went dog sledding at Snow Mountain Ranch, our sled could carry 2 adults and 2 kids. If you have questions about dog sled capacity, call your tour operator and check ahead of time so you can book the best dog sled option for your family.
What To Wear Dog Sledding for Kids
When you’re going dog sledding for kids, be prepared for just about any type of weather you can imagine. You may spend hours sitting on the sled while the dogs tow you, which can make you feel very colds since you’re not moving. On the flip side, you might spend a big chunk of time running behind the sled and work up quite a sweat. With all of these variables, the trick to staying warm while dog sledding is to dress in layers. A high quality base layer first (that both insulates and wicks sweat way), a warm mid layer (puffy jackets are great for really cold days), waterproof coat and snow pants (or a kids snowsuit if you really want to keep your kids warm), snow boots, wool socks, and ski gloves or mittens to keep your hands warm. We also recommend that in addition to a beanie to keep your head warm, you also wear a pair of ski goggles to keep the snow out and your face warmer.
How Long Are Dog Sledding Tours For Kids?
While many dog sled tours offer full day experiences, we have found that for kids, the best options are shorter than that. When our kids were little, a short kids dog sled excursion at Snow Mountain Ranch was perfect. For our tween, we ended up on a family dog sled tour that was a few hours long and it was great for her age. With older kids and teens, consider half and full day dog sledding excursions, but be sure to keep in mind your child’s temperament as well as the weather conditions for dog sledding (a full day out in bad weather can provide a bad experience).