02 Feb Dog sledding: Cold nose, warm heart
I’ve been dreaming of riding a dog sled through snow-covered winter landscapes for a long time. So I didn’t have to deliberate long when my friend Andrea asked me if I would like to go dog sledding in the Ramsau. Even days before the corporate event where I was acting in a support capacity, I was so excited I was practically counting down the minutes until it was finally time.
The big day has come
Full of energy and anticipation, I jumped out of bed. Opening the window, I took a deep breath – what a wonderful day for dog-sledding. That the sky was, in fact, hung heavily with clouds full of rain instead of big snowflakes, I didn’t think important at the moment. After a hearty breakfast at the TUI BLUE Schladming, I made my final preparations for the adventure ahead of me. Wrapped snugly in a thick down jacket with scarf, gloves, and wool hat on my head, the day could finally begin.
I drove my car to the nearby community Ramsau am Dachstein, next to Schladming, where I was immediately received with a hot mulled wine. I warmed up from the inside with the hot drink and enjoyed the calm before the storm. Then suddenly wild howling and barking – there were the dogs. In the blink of an eye, the silence was filled with a warmth that only dogs can give. One, two, three, and I was in the middle of the pack, surrounded by a horde of huskies. They soon completed their inspection of me, tails wagging and filled with curiosity. Steel blue eyes followed my every movement. The dogs tugged at their leashes, which were firmly anchored in the snow. Impatient, they jumped up and down, and would probably have run without protection immediately if they could. The four-legged friends were bursting with energy, and barked vigorously at me, challenging me to finally drive away with them and the dog sled.
Dog sledding quickly explained
After a quick introduction to dog sledding, we were already starting. Probably the most important tip from the dog handler: “They have a mind of their own, and always follow their noses. So great steering and calling doesn’t make much difference – they’ll do their own thing. But don’t worry, they always come back. ” With that, he walked away with a smile on his face and left me alone with my sled. I suddenly started feeling a bit queasy after this statement…
Impatiently, the dogs waited to start running. Well then, I thought, concentrate, breathe deeply, let off the brake, and let’s go! I carefully released the brake and suddenly the sled shot forward at high speed. Wow, madness! It’s unbelievable the kind of strength these animals develop in dog sledding, and how fast they can sprint through the snow.
Landscape, human, and animal
After my initial “fright” about the wild ride, I relaxed and enjoyed the journey through the wintry landscape of Ramsau. Besides the panting of the dogs and the padding of their paws in the snow, there was absolute peace around me. I felt like I was literally flying over the snow. Every now and then one of the dogs turned around to see if I was still there. Well, maybe he was trying to tell me that we were heading uphill and that I should help out a bit.
If you think that dog sledding is just about standing on the sled and being driven around, you’re wrong. It does require a bit of exertion, especially in the hilly areas. It was soon my turn to help the dogs, because at times they couldn’t do all the strenuous work themselves. But that’s the delightful and wonderful thing about dog sledding: the interplay of landscape, humans, and animals.
The mountain conquered, the route run – exhausted but happy – it was now time to relax, feed, and plop down in whatever cuddly box or basket my four-legged friends kicked back in after dog sledding.
“Hello, my name is Mrs. Winter! And in the next life, I’ll be a husky!” I can tell you – a dog sled tour should definitely be on your bucket list. It’s amazing how much energy and zeal these furry friends have. If you are also constantly energised, and prefer to be outside, then you should definitely take a Fatbike through the Alps or enjoy the view over Styria while snowshoeing.
Want more information? Or would you like to incorporate dogsledding into your next company or team event? Andrea from IN A TEAM is here to help.
Cover photo © Beate Rhomberg – fotolia.com