HOW TO BOOK A DOG SLEDDING TOUR IN BANFF, CANADA
There is no shortage of magical winter activities in Banff, but if dogsledding is on your adventure bucket list, there’s no better place to do it than in Canada! Jessica (from A Passion and A Passport) and I were recently invited to experience winter in Banff National Park with Travel Alberta and had the opportunity to check off so many bucket list experiences, including dog sledding through a winter wonderland and learning how to mush with Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours! Sledding through Spray Lakes into the stillness of the Canadian Rockies was truly one of the most incredible winter experiences I have ever had.
Here’s everything you need to know before booking your once-in-a-lifetime dog sledding tour!
CHOOSING A SLED DOG TOUR COMPANY
When it comes to choosing a sled dog tour company, it is so important to do your research.
First, you want to ensure that they are dedicated advocates for the ethical treatment of the dogs. There’s nothing better than knowing the pups are happy, healthy and well taken care of. From the moment we arrived, the huskies were so excited to see us and enjoyed guiding us through Spray Lakes!
You also want the peace of mind knowing the company you choose is run by professionals and will take your safety seriously during your tour. Spending an afternoon with Snowy Owl, I saw firsthand how they prioritized both our safety as well as that of the huskies! Before the tour began, they gave us a thorough instructional & safety briefing and made sure we were comfortable before we took off with our teams.
HOW TO GET the Ultimate Experience
Not only did we sled through what felt like Narnia, led by our adorable pack of huskies, but the best part of our tour was that we had the opportunity to embrace our inner mushers by taking turns driving the sled for a bit! If you’re going to tick off this bucket list activity, might as well get the full experience and join in the fun!
It was also very important to me to have an authentic experience, and with Snowy Owl being the first sled dog touring company in the Bow Valley, we knew we would get an experience unlike any other. Snowy Owl is located just outside of Banff in Canmore, Alberta. The surrounding landscape is covered in a blanket of snow and as we sled through the trail nestled between frozen lakes, frosty streams, glaciers and magnificent mountain ranges, I knew I was truly getting a traditional, Canadian dog sledding experience. The entire time, I felt like I was gliding through a real-life snow globe!
One of the most memorable parts of the tour was being able to interact with the huskies before the tour began. We had the chance to walk around, greet them, learn their names and take photos with them!
You can choose between a Self Driven Sled or an Instructor Driven Sled.
Self Driven Sled: With this option, you have the opportunity to command your very own pack of huskies with your friends / family! The instructors give a comprehensive introduction and instructions and also provide additional support and careful supervision throughout the tour. You will have instructors ahead of you and behind you, so you'll still get helpful reminders to keep you safe!
Instructor Driven Sled: Jessica and I went with this option! Our instructor was really flexible in allowing us to drive the sled at our own comfort level. I started out by standing on the back and letting her control the sled and eventually took over, with a little assistance from her every now and then. At the halfway point, Jessica and I switched spots and I rode inside the sled while she tried her hand at driving the sled.
At the start of the tour, we all learned how to ask the huskies to stop, go, slow down and speed up with commands like hike, good dog, etc.
We did the Power Hound Express:
Length of the tour: 2 hours
Price: $420.00 for a 2 person sled
Trail Length: 10km
30 minute introduction and instruction (this is also when you can meet, play and interact with the huskies!)
1 exhilarating hour of dog sledding
30 minute campfire with hot apple cider & baked goods
For a full list of all tour options & pricing, see here. There are even some overnight expeditions!
WHAT TO WEAR?
Wearing the appropriate gear while sledding in the snow is key! If you don’t have snow pants, winter jackets or boots, Snowy Owl offers high quality North Face & Sorel gear to rent at a very reasonable price! Jessica and I rented snow pants from Snowy Owl right before our tour and I am sooo glad we did. It was just $10 to rent and they were a lifesaver - they kept us super warm and dry throughout the tour.
Here’s a quick guide from Snowy Owl on what to wear during the tour.
If dog sledding through the Canadian Rockies is on your bucket list, I hope this post inspires and helps you to plan your winter adventure in Banff! It was one that I will always remember and can’t wait to experience again!
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A huge thanks to Travel Alberta & Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours for helping me check off this bucket list experience!
As always, all honest opinions are my own.