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Thirsty lead dogs after a training run.

 


Please see our Rides Update page for important changes about our dog sled rides for this winter.


 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How many people can you carry on a sled?

2. How many rides per day do you give? How many sleds do you take out on each ride?

3. When do you give your rides?

4. What if there are 2 (or more) of us and we weigh more than a total of 200 pounds?

5. What can we expect on our ride? How long is the actual ride on the trail?

6. What should we wear and bring for our dogsled ride?

7. What should we wear and bring for our skijoring lesson?

8. Where are you located? Where do you give your rides?

9. What local lodging is available? Is there any "pet friendly" lodging?

10. How do we get to the Mad River Valley (Sugarbush/Mad River Glen area)?

11. What's the local weather forecast and what are Vermont driving conditions like today?

12. Do you require a deposit? What is your cancellation policy?

13. What do I need to do to schedule a ride or skijoring lesson?

14. Is this dangerous?

15. Our question to you: How did you find out about Atii Sled Dogs?

 


1. Q: How many people can you carry on a sled?

A: Since we are a small kennel with a limited number of dogs who also race, we must limit our rides and freight weight. Passengers need to weigh a total of about 200 pounds fully dressed in warm winter gear & boots. Young kids over age 3 are welcome to ride with an adult. We ask all guests to be honest with your weight when you send in your reservation form. (We will consider this "sensitive" private information, not to be shared.)


2. Q: How many rides per day do you give? How many sleds do you take out on each ride?

A: All our rides are private tours—usually one ride per day. We usually take out 1 sled on a ride.
If we are driving a 4-dog team for a child's ride, we might have 2 sleds and two different teams of dogs each giving one ride. Decisions like this are based on weight, trail length, trail conditions, and other factors.


3. Q: When do you give your rides?

A: Siberian Huskies like it cold (ideally, below 20 F), so we prefer to run as early as possible in the mornings. If possible, we like to meet our guests at 8:00 am, but a later meeting time can usually be arranged. Rides are available any day of the week. A lot of people are looking for rides on the weekends, so if you are able to, consider a weekday ride. Plan on a 2- to 3-hour experience which includes the introductory preparations and your lesson to the world of sled dogs, hands-on experience of harnessing the dogs, etc. We'll discuss your specific meeting time and length of ride when we schedule your booking. (Sometimes we offer longer runs, based on temperatures, trail conditions, passenger weight, our training/racing schedule, etc.)

We usually offer one dog sled ride for passengers on a given day. Sometimes that might be followed by a skijoring lesson for a person and their dog which is booked for later that morning or early afternoon. (Skijoring info is on our website as well.)

Let us know if you have any special requests and we'll let you know if we can accommodate your desires.


4. Q: What if there are 2 (or more) of us and we weigh more than a total of 200 pounds?

A: We do offer an option if the total weight is over 200 pounds: Do either or both prospective passengers cross-country ski or snowshoe? One person can ride in the dog sled to the halfway point, then switch with the other person who is snowshoeing or x-c skiing along with or behind the team. We've done this with families with great success, who plan on returning for another ride with us.


5. Q: What can we expect on our ri
de? How long is the actual ride on the trail?

A: We offer rides with you as a passenger—but if you're comfortable with dogs, we will teach you how to help us so this becomes a hands-on participatory experience for you. If you wish, you may help harness and hitch the dogs, plus help snack and water the team after the ride. If you prefer, you can just get comfy in the enclosed sled bag and we'll do all the work. In either case, expect to have fun. Bring a camera for the gorgeous scenic vistas and woods.

It is possible, however, for mushing, even as a passenger, to be physically demanding. Trail conditions may change daily or even hourly due to weather conditions. Passengers may be asked to get out of the sled and walk or even help push the sled, especially if there is a hill. (Consider it part of the mushing experience, if you should be so lucky.) You should be in good physical condition. The dogs are strong, but there are limits to their ability to pull. Our job as mushers, as part of the team, is to make it easy on the dogs.

Tours are usually 6-10 miles, but may range from 4-12 miles, using a 4-, 6-, or 8-dog team, depending upon conditions. A 2½-3 hr. experience starts with the pre-ride introduction to mushing, safety instruction, getting the gear ready (and answering your questions), meeting and petting the dogs, getting the dogs harnessed and hitched to the sled. Helping is encouraged as part of the fun—as long as you are comfortable with that. This part of the experience takes about 45-60 minutes. The length of time on the trail is up to the dogs, and is based on the specific trail and terrain we're running, the trail conditions, and the weather conditions. You'll be on the trail for approximately one hour or more, depending on the length of the trail and everything mentioned above. When we return to the dog truck there's time for a hot beverage, more questions and of course, lots of hugs and pets for the hard working dogs who provided such fun.


6. Q: What should we wear and bring for our dogsled ride?

A: Dress as if you were going downhill (Alpine) skiing. Wear layers of warm winter clothes and winter snow boots for walking in deep snow. You can always shed or add a layer to adjust your comfort level. We’ll be moving anywhere from 25-5 mph, so start off dressed like it’s a cold, windy day.

ESSENTIALS
*Thermal underwear
*Fleece or wool shirt
(Either underwear or shirt, or both, should be able to protect your neck like a turtleneck shirt. *Zip necks are great for controlling for more warmth or venting to cool down.)
*Fleece or wool vest or sweater
*Warm winter jacket (Heavy fleece, down or Thinsulate insulated jacket)
*Wind shell pants over fleece pants or ski or snowboarding pants
*Warm fleece or wool socks (A wicking layer of thermal socks is a good idea.)
*Warm hat: fleece or wool that covers your ears. (Hats keep in the body heat. Without a hat you lose about 25% of your body’s heat.)
*Warm insulated winter outdoor boots with good tread on the soles
*Warm ski or boarding gloves or mittens

RECOMMENDED:
*Neck gaiter
*Ski/ Board Goggles or sunglasses (The wheel dogs closest to the sled kick snow back towards the sled; sun is very bright on snow and the glare can hurt your eyes.)
*Balaclava or neoprene face mask - especially if it’s a really cold day.
*Sunblock for face and lips
*Camera
*Binoculars for bird & wildlife spotting
*If you have a helmet, you are welcome to bring and wear it.


If you need something from the above list, please visit one of our local outdoor shops that sell and/or rent clothing and gear. Some are listed on the local Chamber of Commerce website www.madrivervalley.com.


7. Q: What should we wear and bring for our skijoring lesson?

A: Dress as if you were going cross country skiing--because you are. Bring or wear some extra layers of warm winter clothes and wear your warm winter snow boots for walking in deep snow and standing around talking before and after your guides skiing lesson. Dress warm and for the weather. You can always shed or add a layer to adjust your comfort level.

Bring/wear a fanny or day pack for your extra clothes, water bottle, energy snack, and treat for your dog. We’ll have extra water and bowls for the dogs--or bring your own.

Bring your dog on a leash and wearing its collar and ID tags. Dogs must be kept on a leash or attached skijoring line (if you have your own skijoring gear.) You will need to bring (or fax) a copy of your dog’s rabies innoculation certification to show it is current. (FAX to us at: 802-496-3765 with your name, dog’s name, & date of scheduled lesson.)

Bring your x-c ski equipment: x-c skis (NO METAL EDGES allowed), poles, boots, and x-c wax kit (unless you are using waxless skis.)

You will change into your cross country ski boots which match your x-c ski bindings.

ESSENTIALS:
Since you are a high-intermediate or expert level skier we assume you know what clothing you should wear, but here are some considerations to ponder and a checklist to help you for Vermont’s climate to avoid hypothermia. You will be skiing (at times) at 20-25 mph and you will probably be falling onto the snow. Shell pants and jacket are highly recommended. If you are used to wearing very light gloves, heavier/warmer, more waterproof ones should be considered and/or put in your pack or pocket.

*Thermal underwear
*Fleece or wool shirt ((Either underwear or shirt, or both, should be able to protect your neck like a turtleneck shirt. Zip necks are great for controlling for more warmth or venting to cool down.)
*Fleece or wool vest or sweater
*Warm winter jacket (Heavy fleece, down or Thinsulate insulated jacket)
*Wind shell pants over fleece pants or ski or snowboarding pants
*Warm fleece or wool socks (A wicking layer of thermal socks is a good idea. Pack an extra dry pair.)
*Warm hat: fleece or wool that covers your ears. (Hats keep in the body heat. Without a hat you lose about 25% of your body’s heat.)
*Warm insulated winter outdoor boots with good tread on the soles
*X-C ski gloves/mittens plus extra warm ski or boarding gloves or mittens

RECOMMENDED/optional:
*Neck gaiter
*Ski/ Board Goggles or sunglasses (The sun is very bright on snow and the glare can hurt your eyes.)
*Balaclava or neoprene face mask - especially if it’s a really cold day.
*Sunblock for face and lips
*Camera
*Binoculars for bird & wildlife spotting
*If you have a helmet, you are welcome to bring and wear it.

If you need something from the above list, please visit one of our local outdoor shops that sell and/or rent clothing and gear. Some are listed on the local Chamber of Commerce website www.madrivervalley.com.


8. Q: Where are you located? Where do you give your rides?

A: We are located in the Mad River Valley, a scenic, rural farming and ski resort community. From south to north on Route 100 & Route 100B, the villages and towns of Warren, Waitsfield, Fayston, Moretown, Duxbury, and Waterbury are part of our community and school district. The northern spine of the Green Mountains forms our western border, the Northfield Ridge the eastern, and the Mad River flows through the Valley. We have multiple trail routes that are available to us and we will select the best trails based on the current snow and trail conditions for the safety of both dogs and passengers. Some of the available trails are located in the Green Mountain National Forest, just to the south of us, which offer a wilderness experience - with a few more fun hills involved (which requires helping the dogs by pushing the sled uphill at times.) We will give you directions for where to meet us and then we will lead you to the starting point for your dog sled adventure with us.


9. Q: What local lodging is available? Is there any "pet friendly" lodging?

Here are a few links to help you with your trip to the Mad River Valley for your sled dog adventure:

For local Mad River Valley lodging accommodations, dining, and all we have to offer in the Valley:
http://www.madrivervalley.com

For "pet friendly" lodging, we'll send you a list of local establishments that welcome dogs.


10. How do we get to the Mad River Valley (Sugarbush/Mad River Glen area)?

For directions to Waitsfield, Vermont (and the Mad River Valley):
www.mapquest.com


11. What's the local weather forecast and what are Vermont driving conditions like today?

For up-to-the-minute driving conditions wherever you travel in Vermont, see "Vermont Road Traveler Information":
http://67.106.3.242/default.asp?display=critical&area=VT_statewide&date=&textOnly=False or dail 511 on your phone when you are in Vermont.

Vermont and area weather web sites:

Mark Breen & Steve Maleski's "Eye on the Sky" for Detailed and Recreational Forecasts:
http://www.fairbanksmuseum.org/eye_detailed.cfm

Roger Hill's Weathering Heights:
http://vtlink.net/users/wxman/WeatheringHeights/index.asp

Interactive Weather Information Network:
http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/graphicsversion/bigmain.html

NOAA:
http://weather.noaa.gov


12. Q: Do you require a deposit? What is your cancellation policy?

A: Mushers are dependent upon the cooperation of Mother Nature for favorable running temperatures, safe trail and snow conditions for the dogs. Bookings are arranged with the caveat that rides are held only if it's safe for both dogs and passengers.

Please refer to the cancellation policy on our "Rates for Rides" page on this website.

We do request a 50% deposit if you are booking well in advance.
(Cash, check or money order payable to Atii Sled Dogs. Sorry, no credit cards or Debit/ATM cards yet. Our address is P.O. Box 550, Moretown, VT 05660.)


13. Q: What do I need to do to schedule a ride or skijoring lesson?

A: Send us an email and ask for our scheduling form. Let us know:

  • Your arrival and departure dates while in Vermont (or the Valley);
  • Your preferred available dates for a dogsled ride or skijoring lesson;
  • For a dogsled ride: the number of passengers, and each person's age and weight.
  • For a skijoring training lesson with your dog(s), we will send you another form to complete.

We will try our best to accommodate you based on our availability due to other scheduled clients (or our occasional participation in a sled dog race.)


14. Q: Is this dangerous?

A: Some might consider this an "extreme sport" and you must ride or skijor at your own risk. Our dogs are well trained, and yours might be, too, but anything can happen in this adventure sport —hopefully nothing eventful—especially if there are loose dogs, deer, turkeys or other critters surprising the team while we’re on the trails. All adults (age 18 & over), or a parent/guardian for those under age 18, will be required to sign a “Liability Waiver & Damage Release” form before any lesson or ride. You are welcome to bring and wear a helmet.


15. Q: Our question to you: How did you find out about Atii Sled Dogs? (We're curious as to what marketing works.)

Thanks for your interest and for visiting our website. If you have additional questions or would like to schedule a ride or skijoring lesson with us, please contact us.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Atii Sled Dogs
Mad River Valley · PO Box 550 · Moretown, VT 05660
Phone: 802-496-3795 · Fax: 802-496-3765
atiisleddogs@madriver.com
www.AtiiSledDogs.com

All photos, art & content copyright © 2003-2007 Atii Sled Dogs
All rights reserved.
No photo, drawing, or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent.

Written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours!
Please send your requests to:
AtiiSledDogs@madriver.com
or
Atii Sled Dogs, PO Box 550, Moretown, VT 05660

This page last updated Dec. 12, 2007.