If you are already embarking on this adventure, we assume you do not want to just sit in the sled. You want to be “master of the wheel”! You want to feel the adrenaline when you loosen the brakes and take off! Trust us you want!
Sled dog sprint racing dogs is still one of the toughest competitions on the planet, in which endurance of both dogs and humans is tested. These professional racings are a test of endurance, and can stretch hundreds, even thousands of miles through some of the toughest terrain known to both man and dog. When trained for a long race, they run over 100 kilometers a day, every day, and sleep in the snow in the night.
Let’s start from the beginning: dress accordingly. It is assumed that you are well dressed every day during the winter. You need warmly long veils, waterproof jackets or ski suits, caps, gloves, thick socks, warm deep boots. When you sit on a sled (as you must sometimes let the partner drive) the wind pulls into your bones. So listen to your instructors. They really know what they’re saying.
Contrary to the belief that this is about torture and exploitation of animals, the participants are actually lovers of dogs and have devoted their whole lives to them. Getting to know those dogs before driving is important for your relationship with them.
Usually five to six dogs, in races and over 10, are tied in the sleds. They run at a speed of 10 to 15 miles per hour and when they compete up to 20 miles per hour. The training is short: you stand on the sled, and you have two types of brakes, one that slows down and the other that stops the sled. Never, absolutely never let go of grip. Keep your balance; keep the distance between the sleds. And that’s basically that.
If it happens that the driver is falling off the sleds and they continue to run without a convoy, the person sitting in the sleds must try to stiffen and stop the pack, either with his legs or carefully turning to the rear of the brake. Of course this is a rare scenario.
However, despite the popularity of this sport, there is a little hope that it will be recognized as an Olympic discipline. But this sport gets popular with every competition, and attracts attention in unusual places. This would have to be a shorter sprint race in order to attract spectators.
That’s why this sport had only one appearance at the Olympics. It was presented at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York in 1932, when seven competitors from two countries took part in two races of 25 miles. In this race, Canada won the United States. But the sport failed to get enough popularity, and still, almost 100 years later, is seeking Olympic fame.
Dog sledding did help in shaping society because dogs have been an important part of our society since, well – always. The most iconic way that people worked side by side with dogs is in order to establish a life in the Arctic Circle, and that was done with dog sledding. Today, there are even dog sledding tours you can be a part of, and they give people the opportunity to experience that special connection that is made between sled dogs and sled drivers.