£58 / PERSON / HOUR
This is NOT a sit on ride! You are in charge of your own sled with three sometimes four dogs to pull it and you. The dog Sledding activity is an energetic, sometimes hard work experience that can be incredibly rewarding. This experience is not around a flat lake its through woods, up and down hills and occasionally under trees. You will have to help the dogs up hill only then to balance on, and brake the sledge at the same time coming back down.
|DOG SLEDDING - OPERATION TIMES|
|Daily tours available weather and snow conditions permitting|
|3 sessions daily|
|11.30am - 12.30 pm / 2.00pm - 3.00pm / 3.30pm - 4.30pm|
Excursions are available daily throughout the season but only when the weather and snow conditions permit. Early in the season the weather does not really pose a problem it is only later in the season when the temperature warms that many of the problems arise. If it is snowing the dog sledding activity will still operate (when it is snowing it just makes the dog sledding activity feel more authentic and the surroundings and scenery are beautiful when all covered in snow).
It is only when it starts to rain that the dog sledding activity gets cancelled altogether or alternatively if possible - arranged for a different time. The reason for canceling when it rains is not only due to the discomfort for you the client being out in the rain for an hour but also when the dogs get wet they have a tendency to shake themselves dry when the dogs do this clients get covered in dirty, smelling doggy water. (Not very nice!).
There are three sessions daily with time in between each in order to give the dogs time to rest. There is no better time than another, it is purely up to personal preference. The 1100hrs slot is ideal if you wish to have a lie in and a leisurely breakfast with a ski after the activity. Whereas, the 1530hrs slot is ideal if you wish to get up early have most of a days skiing and then take part in the dog sledding activity. Ultimately the choice is yours!
|Dog Sledding - location|
|La Plantin - between Meribel and La Tania|
The Dog Sledding activity operates from La Plantin a small village about 1km on from Meribel Village (Village NOT Meribel). From Courchevel 1850 the dog sledding activity is a 35-40 minute drive.
|How to get there from Courchevel|
- SELF DRIVE / TAXI / FREE SHUTTLE THROUGH CHALET COMPANY OR HOTEL
From Courchevel 1850 you need to head down the hill through Courchevel 1650, past Courchevel 1550 and into Le Praz (Courchevel 1300). When driving through Le Praz you will come to a roundabout, at the roundabout turn left and head towards La Tania and out past the Olympic Ski Jump. Keep on that road going straight over a couple of roundabouts. Drive past La Tania and keep on driving until you come to a small village signposted La Plantin. When in La Plantin you will see a small car park on the right hand side of the road, you will need to park or be dropped of in this car park. Once in the car park you will need to cross the road to where the dog sledding activity takes place.
- SKI + (FREE LIFT – BY APPOINTMENT!)
To ski to the dog Sledding activity you will need a three valley lift pass. From Courchevel you will need to ski into the Meribel valley. From here you will need to find the Altiport green run, at the bottom of the Altiport ‘beginners’ green run, Meribel, you need to take the Lapin blue ski run down to Meribel ‘Village’. From here you need to make your way to the large roundabout in the main centre of Meribel ‘Village and wait by the bakery (boulangerie/Le Village de Pains) – Whitetracks will organise for you to be collected from here by the operators. They will then drop you back to the roundabout after you have taken part in the activity for you to enter back into the 3 Valleys lift system.
|DOG SLEDDING - OPERATION / duration / format|
|15-20 minutes - tuition and brief|
|40-45 minutes - driving the dogs or Vice-Versa|
|5-10 minutes - handing in equipment and saying goodbye to the dogs|
Unlike many other dog sledding experiences that you may have seen or taken part in the dog sledding experience in Courchevel/Meribel is not around a flat area of land. It takes place in and around part of the Altiport forest and consists of up hills, down hills, the occasional flat bits but will also require you to duck under branches and such like. There are no sit on rides YOU are in control of your own sledge with three dogs or sometimes four to pull you along.
When you turn up to the activity you will all be gathered around a single sledge where one of the operators will guide and instruct you on how to control the sledge and the dogs. You will be taught how to stand on the sledge, how to balance and transfer your weight and very importantly how and when to use the brake in order to slow yourselves down not injuring the dogs in the process. PLEASE listen to the instructions carefully they are not only for your safety but also for the dogs as well!
Once you have listened and understood the instructions (If there is something that you have not understood Please do not be shy - ASK QUESTIONS!). You will then be told to get yourself a sledge, the operators will then gauge you all and work out which team of dogs will be best suited to you. When they have decided and they start to put the dogs to each sledge you will need to be ready with your foot on the brake, so as soon as the dogs are attached you and the sledge don't go anywhere. When your first dog is attached to your sledge, your lead dog the operator will tell you its name - this is the dog that you shout commands at. You will need to remember this dogs name as you will be required to shout ALLER and then the dogs name to move!
When all the dogs are attached to the sledges and the operators are ready to leave, you will all follow in a line leaving the right amount of space that you have been told to between you and the sledge in front. There is NO OVERTAKING throughout the excursion - some of the dogs don't like each other so if they get close to each other they will fight - KEEP YOUR DISTANCE.
|DOG SLEDDING - RESTRICTIONS|
|No Under 12's|
|Need to be reasonably fit - Dog Sledding is a Physical Activity|
Dog Sledding is quite a strenuous and physical activity - obviously this does all really depend on your own level of fitness and ability. Skiers and boarders seem to get on with the activity better than non skiers and non boarders this is because of the balance required to control the sledge down hills and around corners. Skiers and boarders seem to understand the dynamics that little bit more because they are doing it on a daily basis on the mountain. Please do not let this put any non-skiers or boarders off we have many people that don't ski or board take part in this activity and 99% of the time they all love it.
There are no sit on rides which means that there is an age restriction of 12 years old - this age has been set because the dogs although, small are surprisingly powerful. A 12 year old is going to have the strength and weight to control the sledge and dogs and not vice versa.
|DOG SLEDDING - EQUIPMENT SUPPLIED|
|3 or 4 dogs|
All the equipment needed for dog sledding will be supplied by the dog sledding company all that you will need to bring is yourselves and the clothes that you are dressed in. You will not be expected to bring any equipment for the operation of the activity itself.
|DOG SLEDDING - SUGGESTED ITEMS|
|Ski Clothing - Jacket, ski pants, hat, gloves, glasses/goggles|
Depending on the time of the season will depend on how much clothing you will be wearing at the start of the dog sledding activity and how much clothing you will be wearing at the end. Early on in the season December to February the winter is much colder and although the dog sledding activity is quite strenuous and energetic you will need to dress for very cold conditions. Later in the season it is still advisable to dress for cold conditions as it will be more comfortable for you to be warm and as you get hotter you will be able take items of clothing off. If you start the activity feeling cold it will spoil part of your experience.
Footwear is very important - to take part in the dog sledding activity you will need to wear normal footwear ideally a pair of walking boots, trainers are O.K. but your feet might get wet causing discomfort during and after the activity. Snowboarding boots are fine as long as you have flex in the ankles. SKIING BOOTS ARE UNSUITABLE.
|DOG SLEDDING - staff / NUMBERS|
|Minimum - 3 people|
|Maximum - 5 or 6 people|
During your excursion there will be two members of staff looking after a minimum of three clients or a maximum of seven. They will be keeping an eye on all the participants throughout the excursion stopping every so often in order to let everyone catch up or to get back to the sledge and dogs if someone has fallen off.
|DOG SLEDDING - EQUIPMENT SPECIFICATIONS|
There are four different official breeds of sledge dogs, the most famous being the Siberian Husky, the others are the Alaska Malamute, the Samoyede and Greenland dog, they all have the same features in common, they are all hard working and resistant to very low temperatures. They are affectionate but also unfortunately prone to escape to hunt.
Each dog in the team wears an individually fitted harness that is made of lightweight nylon webbing material, each harness is padded around the neck and shoulders for the dogs comfort. The team of dogs are then hitched to a rig or sled by means of a central rope or gang line as it is otherwise known. Other equipment includes the snub line and snow hook used to secure the team when stationary.
Although introduction of new materials and designs have increased both speed and performance, sleds have changed very little from those used in the early days of racing, they have basically remained of the traditional design and construction. Even when there is a lack of snow, nothing will stop the die-hard followers of this sport as wheeled rigs are used which is often the case outside mountainous and far northern areas.
DOG SLEDDING LINKS
- British Mushers Association
- The British Siberian Husky Racing Association