When you live in a tourist-oriented region like I do, you sometimes take for granted or even forget about the fun activities and scenic locations that are in your own backyard.
Take, for example, dog sled rides. Working here in Waterville Valley I was aware that Valley Snow Dogz offers authentic dog sled rides during the winter. I’d seen their website, read some awesome reviews about their excursions, even talked to Lidia – one of the owners – about helping to promote her business. But, for some reason, I subconsciously thought…dog sled rides…tourists do that.
Then, in early January when my son’s fiance was visiting, I was trying to think of something for my kids to do. Voila! How ’bout a dog sled ride?!
I contacted the Town Square front desk (who books the dog sled rides on behalf of Valley Snow Dogz) and reserved three spots for my daughter, son and his fiance to go on the Mountain Taster ride.
We checked in and paid at the Town Square front desk the night of our ride. Then, we drove to the base of Tripoli Road at Waterville Valley’s north end to meet up with the mushers.
Our hosts – and the owners of Valley Snow Dogz – Lidia & Richard Dale-Mesaros, are awesome, kind and caring. This is more than a dog sled ride. It is an experience. You are introduced to their beautiful, friendly dogs who love being petted and hugged. As the mushers are working, they explain how they care for, train, and work the dogs. You get to watch them unload the dogs from their very cool dog carrier truck complete with an innovative doggie ladder created by Richard. I was surprised how much work goes into loading/unloading dogs and hitching the teams to the sleds.
As the mushers are busy working, you’re settled into a sled with a blanket. Be forewarned! It’s still cold, so dress appropriately for the weather. The minute the dogs were hitched to the sled, they began barking and yipping excitedly, eager to go to work. When the mushers release the brake the dogs whisk you up Tripoli Road on an exhilarating ride into the dark forest. The return trip is a downhill run and even more exciting as the sled reaches speeds up to 20 mph!
After the ride, Lidia and Richard serve you hot cider and delicious homemade cookies from the back of their truck.
I strongly recommend a dog sled ride (tell Lidia and Richard that Jan sent you!). This is truly a bucket list activity.
Enjoy some of the photos I took the night of our ride.