We received a discount on our dog sledding adventure with Grizzle-T Dog & Sled Works, but as always, all opinions are my own.
Was anyone else a big fan of the animated film, Balto?! Dog sledding is something I always thought would be so cool to experience, but I honestly believed the only place we would ever do it was in Alaska. And while Alaska is certainly on my list of places to go, it’s not on the “soon” list. When we booked a somewhat last-minute trip to Steamboat Springs with my in-laws (anything booked less than 6 months out feels last-minute for me). I didn’t create my usual itinerary, but I did some research on things to do in the area. When dog sledding popped up in my search, it wasn’t even a question of whether we would do it. I reached out to the highly rated Grizzle-T Dog & Sled Works and booked it right away.
Like anything I experience for the first time, I had butterflies and nerves. But I’m addicted to those fun feelings and all of the exciting experiences that come out of them. Dog sledding became a day I’d never forget.
Grizzle-T Dog & Sled Works
Family owned and operated, this kennel has a 30+ year history with their Alaskan Huskies. Located on 40,000 acres on the outskirts of Steamboat Springs (about a 15-20 minute drive from downtown), the 120 Alaskan Huskies are the heart of the family. They require around 250lbs of food each day and are simply born to run.
After being picked up at our condo in Grizzle-T’s shuttle along with the other dozen guests, we arrived on the property where we were greeted by the howls and cries of Huskies impatiently waiting to run. Right away, I noticed their beauty, friendliness, and smaller body frame. They easily burn 5,000 calories on the 12.5-mile trail run and are “bred for speed, strength, and endurance”. Unlike the typical blue-eyed, extra fluffy Husky that comes to mind, these Huskies are all different sizes and colors. They’re not meant to be a house-pet. They’re meant to run long distances in frigid weather.
While Grizzle-T states that guests are responsible to dress warmly and prepared, they also have plenty of items to borrow. Sara Hoffman, one of the owners, decked us out in better boots, warmer gloves, toe warmers, goggles, and more. I thought I was prepared, but I’m so happy she had all of these items available for us! After a quick, literally 5-minute, lesson, we were paired off to our sleds.
Dog Sledding Experience
My husband, Marc-André, chose to drive the sled first. I got to slide into the warm sled, ready for the ride. The Huskies’ excitement was contagious and each one was begging to get chosen for the run. Once we all had our 8 dogs attached to the lines, we were ready to take off. We had two guides on snowmobiles, one creating the trail, and then Derek, who kept an eye on everything else (plus took awesome photos for all of us).
Many of these Huskies can run up to 150 miles a day and have even participated in the Iditarod Trail Race in Alaska. The 12.5-mile trail we took is barely a 10th of what they could do in a day. But just like a marathoner, they need to pace themselves through the snowy terrain. None of them want to be in second place, so it was a tricky practice to keep enough distance between each sled. I swear, we had the strongest dogs of all. They wanted to zoom past the 3 other sleds in front of us, but we kept them in check with the brake on the sled. The leaders would turn around and give us this judgy look like, “get off the brakes, you amateurs”. Both Marc and I apologized to them, multiple times, for slowing them down. 😂
The ride was even better than I imagined. It was peaceful, beautiful, and so smooth. We glided through the mountains, admired the frozen lakes, and lusted over the winter wonderland. The Huskies were in their happy place and we got to soak in the experience. Halfway through, we switched drivers. I almost chose not to drive, but I’m so happy I did. I could feel the power of the talented Huskies even more and it made me feel powerful.
Marc got to sit back and relax, but when I hit a rut in the middle of the meadow, we tipped right over. The guides had warned us of this. I was terrified of it happening, but when it did, I couldn’t stop laughing. Turns out falling over in fresh powder isn’t as scary as it seems. Derek came to the rescue to tip Marc back up-right and had the challenge of getting the Huskies to slow down when they realized they could start sprinting without a driver. Just making memories, ya’ll.
Steamboat Springs Must-Do
The 12.5-mile trail took us around 2 hours to complete. As we approached the end of the trail, it was almost impossible to slow down the Huskies that were ready to eat. I had all my weight on the main brake and I still couldn’t get them to completely stop. Again, it just shows you the pure power of these pups. Amazing.
After loving on our Huskies (Simba and Scarface were extra lovable), we headed inside to warm up, return the borrowed items, and sip on hot chocolate (and maybe take a shot of Butterscotch liqueur). Everyone was just grinning ear to ear because it was such a cool experience. We could tell that the owners and guides love what they do, they love their huskies, and they love making their guests happy. To me, that’s a successful business.
Dog sledding with Grizzle-T is totally a “must-do” for anyone and everyone visiting Steamboat Springs during the winter months. They’ll make it work for you no matter your age or ability. I’m marking this off my bucket list, but I know I’ll want to do it again!
Tell me something you’ve checked off your bucket list recently!