Frequently Asked Questions
For our customers convenience, we have compiled questions that are among those most frequently asked of us. Please choose a tab above so that we may provide our most informed response.
Will I stay warm?
Yes. There are some very basic principles to staying warm in a winter climate. Being prepared is key, which is why we send you our comprehensive “Guide to Keeping Warm” when you sign up for a trip. Before you even leave your home, you will have a basic understanding of staying warm in the winter. Once you arrive, our staff will be happy to check your clothing and help you layer your items in the most effective manner. (Preview our “Guide to Keeping Warm”.)
What part of winter is the best for dogsledding?
Winter brings with it diversity as well as some unpredictability. Essentially, any winter month is a good month to run a team of dogs. December and January often bring beautiful, tree-clinging snowfalls. February has a good snow base and the lengthening days become apparent. March tends to be a bit warmer with good, long days and established trails.
How’s the snowfall?
We are blessed to live in the Ontario snowbelt and consistently receive the highest snowfall in Minnesota. Dogsledding requires the least amount of snowpack of any winter snow sport – ensuring we have the longest season possible – typically from early December through late March.
What gear will I need?
Is rental clothing available?
Yes, we have great outerwear for you to rent for your trip. Boots, parkas, and wind pants are all available. (Review our rental list and rates. )
Can I drive a dog team?
Yes, you can! We have worked very hard to train our dogs and have tailor-built our sleds to make driving a dog team as easy as possible. Your trip starts with an orientation that covers all aspects of driving a sled and handling the dogs. Dogsledding is an activity enjoyed by people ages 8 to 88. Although leading an active lifestyle may make your experience more enjoyable, it is certainly not a prerequisite to having a good time. Our guides drive sleds with the group and if you feel you want a little extra help, just ask to mush with one of them. They can give you pointers and help you out while riding in your sled.
How many dogs are on a team?
Many factors go into deciding how many dogs go on a team (trail conditions, strength of the individual dogs, weight of the musher and gear, and even personalities of the dogs). Our teams average about six dogs each.
What are the dogs like?
Our enthusiastic sled dogs are Alaskan huskies. Perhaps due to its hodgepodge heritage, the Alaskan husky is the most versatile breed of working dog in the world. Wonderful companions for your trip; they are hard-working professionals. Our local vet has commented that our well-trained dogs are among the best-behaved dogs he has ever seen. These friendly dogs have a very strong bond with our staff, and each dog knows their job. Many people are surprised at how well our dogs get along with one another. This is most obvious at the trailheads, for as we prepare the teams for the day’s outing, we can let several dogs run free until they are each called back for harnessing and clipping to their sled’s gang-line.
What’s it really like to drive a dog team?
Driving sled dogs is a study in contrast. After the loud, enthusiastic barking of excited dogs ready to head down the trail, experience the quiet tranquility of the north woods, with the only sound being the pat, pat of the dogs’ feet on the trail. Fast-paced maneuvering on the hills and through the forests, combined with effortless gliding and silent traveling on lakes and open trails, provide an unforgettable experience. These descriptive words help to visualize the experience but to know what it is like, you have to come and meet the dogs.
Do you have single accommodations?
Yes, we have single accommodations available. Listed with each trip is a small single supplement fee to offset the additional cost of single occupancy rooms.
I have a group who would love this experience. Do you do trips for private groups?
Yes! Not only will we take private groups for our programs, but we can also customize the program for you as desired. We have special group discounts for larger groups. See Group Programs for more info.
What is included in the trip price, and what do you accept for payment?
Our multi-day trips are complete packages; your lodging, food, equipment, guides, and dog teams are included. Ground transportation to and from the kennel is not included. We have winter rental clothing and boots available for an additional fee. Gratuity is not included. If you had a memorable trip, gratuity is customary. For payment, we accept most major credit cards (MasterCard, VISA, Discover), checks and cash. For additional information, please see our reservation policies page.
How many people are on a sled?
We offer two styles of trips. On our Premier Trips, there is one participant per sled, and of course it is this person driving the team. These trips maximize your time with your dogs and driving the sled. These are also listed as “Solo Sled Trips.”
Many family groups, couples and people who want to ease into driving our dog teams enjoy our Traditional Trips, where two people share a team and sled, aka “Shared Sled Trips.” One person drives the sled and the other rides in the basket, and the driver and rider can change positions, as they desire. This is also a good trip to put the guide in your sled as the rider so they can offer suggestions along the way. (Riding in the sled offers a good opportunity for taking in the scenery and taking some photos.)
How is the food?
We receive wonderful compliments on our food and many people go out of their way to tell us that they thought the food was great. Lunches on the trail are always hot. Look forward to a variety of satisfying homemade soups, as well as locally made bratwurst, which we roast over a crackling fire during our lunch break. Homemade cookies and breads accompany the meals.
For extra special meals, try a yurt trip. After an active day on the trail, settle in to enjoy a hearty dinner, including pork schnitzel with chipotle apple brandy sauce, served with wild rice pilaf and sourdough French bread. Follow this up with a delicious dessert. Our fresh-out-of-the-oven cranberry bread pudding is a favorite, but so is the rich chocolate fudge pecan cake. Enjoy orange-pecan stuffed French toast or our popular wild rice porridge for breakfast.
Can you accommodate food allergies?
Yes, with ample advanced notice. We regularly customize our menus to accommodate lactose or gluten intolerance, vegetarians, vegans as well as other food allergies. When you fill out your Participant Information Form, whether online or on paper, please include all the details, so that we can shop accordingly. If in doubt, just contact us. We appreciate at least 10 days’ notice for food allergies on multi-day trips.
How do I get to Ely?
Ely is located a two-hour drive from the Duluth International Airport. Both American Eagle and Northwest Airlines have flights into Duluth. From Duluth you can rent a car or take a taxi. We are fortunate to have a great snowplow crew in northern Minnesota and the roads between Duluth and Ely are kept in excellent shape all winter. (Read additional travel information from our confirmation packet.)
How is the lodging?
The north woods lodges we use are quiet and welcoming. The staff at the lodge work hard to make your stay a memorable one. Enjoy a relaxing evening stargazing from the frozen lake. Nothing compares to the quiet of the winter night in the north woods. For those seeking something warmer for their evening relaxation, enjoy the sauna or soaking in the whirlpool.
Who else will be on my trip, and how big are the groups?
Outdoor and adventure enthusiasts from around the world participate in our sled dog trips. We believe that the best outdoor adventure experience is created in a small group. It is for this reason that we typically only have four to six participants per group. (We can, however, accommodate special requests for groups larger in size.)
Who are your staff, and how many will be on our trip?
Our staff are seasoned outdoor professionals. Most work with the dogs year round to ensure the tight bond between staff and dogs, something that makes the White Wilderness trip experience unique. They are dedicated to making your trip a safe and enjoyable one. Depending on the group size (usually four to six participants), two guides will accompany the group.
How much time will we actually be sledding?
A day on the trail typically starts at 9am, when you arrive at the kennel, and concludes around 3:30pm. That said, it typically takes about an hour from when guests arrive, to get suited up, trained on the basics and out the kennel, upright on a dogsled. We typically travel 2.5 hours in the morning and then stop for lunch. This affords time to stretch, take portraits with the dogs, ask questions that have been brewing, as well as enjoy a hot lunch over a campfire (or homemade soup on blustery days). We’ll travel for another 2 hours in the afternoon, typically returning to the kennel between 3-3:30pm. Guests enjoy helping put away the dogs, visiting other dogs or puppies, sharing stories around the warm wood stove and are typically on the road by 4pm. Of course, if a group is tiring or not up for the weather, we can adjust the afternoon schedule, and return earlier.