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|Rick Mercer Visits Winterdance!
- What type of dogs do you have?
We run the traditional Purebred Siberian Husky’s
- Do you breed dogs/sell puppies?
Yes we normally have 1 or 2 litters a year, but we don’t sell puppies or adults
- How many dogs will be on my team?
5 dogs for the 2 hour & ½ day, 6 dogs for the full day
- How fast will the dogs go?
The fastest (about 20km/hour) will be at the very start and on downhill’s other than there the dogs will pick a comfortable pace that they can maintain which is usually around 10km /hour.
- How long do the dogs live/run?
What happens to old dogs? Generally speaking huskies are a very healthy breed, and with getting lots of exercise and good food our dogs commonly run tours up until they are 12 or so. Like people it varies some retire at 10 or 11 others are still running shorter trips at 13. 14-16 is considered a good long life for a husky. Our dogs usually go through a year or 2 of "semi-retirement" where they will run shorter trips a couple of times a week, this keeps them happy to still be going and running and yet doesn’t ask too much. When they do retire they live out their lives with us. Our kennel being heated makes it very comfortable for them and the social yards keep them in great spirits. Some of them still travel to the trail to go for a ride and visit with guests.
- Do the dogs all have names and do you know them?
Absolutely to both questions!
- Can we bring treats for the dogs?
We have treats at the trail for the dogs, just ask if you wish to feed your team.
- Can we pet the dogs?
Absolutely, they would be offended if you didn’t!
- Do the dogs enjoy pulling sleds?
All you have to do is watch the hook up and the excitement that the dogs show by howling, lunging, barking to know they love doing what they were born & breed for generations to do.
- Can we visit the kennel?
Sorry but not in the winter. Like you after working all day wouldn’t want your clients/customers coming to your home for the evening, the kennel is the dogs down time. We are as of the summer of 2008 however starting kennel tours so that people can visit our facility.
Location & Weather
- How far are you from Toronto?
About a 3 hour drive
- Where is the closest airport?
- How can we get to you via public transportation?
There is a bus that comes and goes from Toronto once a day. It leaves Toronto early afternoon and arrives in Haliburton in the evening. Departing it leaves Haliburton realy morning and gets to Toronto early afternoon so it means you would have to stay 2 nights in the area to enjoy dogsledding. There are taxi companies that will shuttle you around Haliburton. The easiest way still remains renting a car and driving yourself
- When does your season start/stop?
We normally are running by mid December and go until the end of March/first of April
- When is the best time of year to come?
Ahhh, an excellent question. Generally we consider our best conditions to be early/mid January - mid March, but again that is hard to say, this year Christmas and March break saw as good of conditions as it gets!
- Do you cancel tours if the weather isn’t good?
Occasionally we have to cancel tours due to extreme freezing rain, rain or blizzards but it has to be REALLY bad for that to happen. If we do cancel we refund your deposit or reschedule the tour your choice. We do recommend you stay in the area the night before your tour to ensure that you are at the trail on time.
- Are there places to stay overnight close by?
We are lucky to have many wonderful accommodation providers in the area besides our own cottage. Many of them have links on our accommodation page. But if you need help narrowing them down please don’t hesitate to ask.
- Where is the closest Restaurant/Gas Station to the trail?
Closest Gas Station is in Haliburton or Eagle Lake, there is a diner in Fort Irwin that is open on Thursdays - Sundays in the winter, failing that Haliburton is the closest place for numerous restaurants.
Tours & Rates
- Do I get to drive a sled?
Absolutely, with 2 people/sled at all times one of you is driving the team of dogs. If you don't wish to drive and are coming with a partner who is willing to do all the driving than that is fine too
- How many people go on a sled?
2 customers/sled at all times, one person riding and 1 person driving the dogs. A guide is on their own sled in front of the group. If you have an uneven number in your party we will team someone up with our staff.
- How much distance will we cover?
Distances are average, and while we normally run the same distance for every tour, times can vary quite a bit depending on the dogs, people, weather and trail conditions. So on average, the 2 hour is out for about 1 hour on the trail and covers 8 km. The ½ day is out usually around 2-21/2 hours on covers 15 km, the full day is out around 6 hours and covers up to 30 km.
- How many people can you accommodate?
It depends on the tour, and date, but generally speaking we can accommodate up to 24 people on the ½ days about 18 on the full day and usually around 10 on the 2 hour, but give us a shout for specifics.
- How many sleds go out at once?
Again depends on the day and bookings, but generally on weekends there are about 4 sleds on full days, 5 sleds on 2 hours and 10 on ½ day tours.
- Will we see wildlife on the trail?
Not likely. While we are fortunate to share the wilderness with Moose, Fox, Deer, Wolves, Bear and numerous smaller animals and birds we don’t often see them. We do frequently see their tracks however so we know they are there!
- What are the trails/scenery like?
If you are unfamiliar with Haliburton County it is very similar in landscape to Algonquin Park, which is rugged wilderness. Our trail backs into Algonquin Park and is totally undeveloped so you will travel through a variety of wooded trails and lake systems with decent elevations changes. As some people have emailed the scenery is "breathtaking"!
- Should we tip our guide?
While it is not necessary like any service related work, people do often tip if they feel their guide provided excellent service.
- How should we dress?
Layers is always best in winter, with good winter boots, and a winter wind/water proof outer shell, hat & mitts and you will be set!
- Is there anything we should bring with us?
Just warm clothes, we take care of the rest.
- Should I arrive early for my tour?
We do try and start right on time, so if you are there about 15 minutes early that is great. If you have any questions about directions at all please call us as if you are late you risk keeping the rest of the group waiting, or missing your tour altogether.
- What is your cancellation policy?
If we have to cancel than as above, if you need to cancel a month or more ahead than your deposit is refunded, if it is shorter notice than that, getting a refund is contingent on our being able to rebook your spots
Children & Pets
- Are children allowed?
Yes! We have 4 children of our own so the dogs are very used to little ones. We recommend children be at least 2 for the 2 hour runs, a minimum of 5 for the ½ day and at least 8 for the full day.
- Are there special rates for children?
If your children are small and we can put them together in a sled (generally 8 & under) than they will be ½ price
- Will my child get to drive a sled?
If they are 16 or older absolutely. If they are between 12-16 we can not guarantee it, that decision is left up to your guide who is responsible for everyone’s safety. If they feel it is safe for the dogs & your child than they will be happy to accommodate.
- Can I bring my dog along?
Sorry but no, we keep our dogs totally quarantined from other dogs
Health & Fitness Questions
- What kind of shape do I need to be in?
You certainly don’t need to be a marathon runner, but you also can’t be really overweight. Dogsledding is an active sport, so a guideline we use is if you can comfortably walk up 2 flights of stairs without being winded at the top you should be fine. If in doubt don’t hesitate to ask us.
- Is there a weight restriction?
A firm number no, but dogs aren’t like snowmobiles and can’t pull endlessly. Our general rule of thumb is a combined weight for 2 people of not more than around 400 lbs. However some people are just tall and solid and in excellent shape that is a big difference than someone who is large and in really bad shape.
- I’m pregnant, is dogsledding safe?
No! Dogsledding is on a similar risk level as horseback riding. We hope we will get to meet you next year!
- Can people with disabilities be accommodated?
We love to accommodate anyone we can with disabilities and try out best. In the past we have had great success with folks with hearing or vision challenges, and also muscle type disabilities (ie. MD, MS, various types of paralysis), mental disabilities are a bit tougher to ensure a great experience so please talk to us about your specific concerns.