Life

Recap: Dogsledding in the Canadian Rockies (Jasper/B.C.)

Dogsledding in the Canadian Rockies.
Dogsledding in the Canadian Rockies.

On Valentine’s Day, Mike surprised me with a trip to Jasper to go dogsledding! I say surprise, but I knew it was coming. It’s hard to surprise me, lol. I had been hinting casually over the last few months that we should go dogsledding sometime. Over the years I recalled seeing two friends post about their amazing experience dogsledding and it had become something I really wanted to do too! More recently I had actually looked into the prices and told Mike it’s probably more of a ‘big gift’ kind of excursion. What was coming up that might justify a ‘big gift?’ Valentine’s Day! Although he never told me where we were going or what we were doing, he did tell me that he took the Valentine’s Day weekend off and that I should too. Not too hard to put two and two together and figure out we were going dogsledding! ;)

Orientation!
Orientation!

There are a few different areas you can go dogsledding in Alberta – the top three we found in our Google searches were Jasper, Banff and Canmore. The top hit for ‘Jasper dogsledding’ on Google is a company called Cold Fire Creek Dog Sledding. Although they advertise through Jasper, the Cold Fire Creek dogsledding tour is actually located 120 kms west of Jasper near Valemount, B.C.

The prices for most of the dogsledding tours are pretty similar. Cold Fire Creek offers four different tour packages. The most affordable package and the one Mike & I did was the 60 Minute Musher which departs at 1 p.m. – includes an intro to the dogs, equipment, instruction on how to drive a dog team, and one hour of mushing. We mush for 10 kms. Cost? $135/adult. There’s also three hour tours that include stopping for lunch, four hour tours where you ‘ascend 1,000 vertical feet by dog team along a 100-year-old trap line’ and a ‘moonlight run’ offered at night! The prices go from $135/adult up to $245/adult up to $300/adult with the most (the four-hour tour) costing $350/adult. It’s definitely an expensive date but it’s a pretty amazing experience!

Before we take off on the dog sleds!
Before we take off on the dog sleds!

The dogs at Cold Fire Creek are Alaskan and Siberian Huskies. The company has 74 dogs and generally there’s room for 8 dogs per sled – though on the day we went our sled only used 6 dogs (we were probably the lightest of the group so I don’t think we required 8 dogs). We thought it was really cool that we would have an entire pack of dogs all to ourselves on one sled! They give you a pretty quick how-to:

  • Stick an anchor in the ground when we’re stopped
  • Jump on a brake when you need to stop or stand on a matted brake
  • Pump your feet into the snow to help the dogs when we’re going uphill
  • Call out “hike” when you want the dogs to start going (not ‘mush!’)

And then you’re off!


Mike and I tried to switch off so we both got to experience driving the sled but we quickly learned that I was not heavy enough to hold back 6 dogs! When we tried to switch, as soon as I lifted up the anchor from the snow, the dogs basically took off and knocked into the sled team ahead of us. Whoops… then when Mike got out to help untangle the dogs, I was left as the only ‘weight’ on the sled so the dogs easily take off again! Mike had to do a running jump to step down on the brake and stop the dogs. (It’s not like I wasn’t trying to step on the brakes to stop the dogs, I really was. I kept jumping and jumping on the brake but nothing was happening!!) The guide came up after and said ‘I should have known you were too light to drive the sled.’ It was kind of a nice compliment in a way – that my physique is so small I can’t hold back 6 dogs or make any dent on snow with a brake, lol. Note that you absolutely can and have many opportunities to switch on and off with your partner for riding and driving, you just have to not be a weakling like me!

Cuties!
Cuties!

Anyone can ride. Cold Fire Creek says they’ve had guests as old as 92 and as young as 5 months. They’ve also taken pregnant women and those with disabilities. There was a young child among our group that day as well!

With our dog pack. ;)
With our dog pack. ;)

The dogs are adorable but very loud. They also tend to pee and poop along the tour, so you can get some funky whiffs as you go, but that passes quickly. Dress like you’re going skiing/snowboarding. And definitely bring your camera! They encourage that. There’s also lots of room in the actual sled, it’s quite roomy! Also remember if you’re doing this particular tour company, there’s a time difference from when you travel from B.C. to Jasper!

Having fun dogsledding!
Having fun dogsledding!

We went on a perfect day. It wasn’t too cold at all and the sun was out! It was also so peaceful. For long stretches of time the only sound you hear are the dog’s paws hitting the snow as they ran. You’re surrounded by forest, mountains, and snow – everywhere you look. It was brisk so you felt alert, but it’s also an extremely relaxing experience (when you’re riding. Probably a little less relaxing for the driver).


I had wondered just how OK I’d be with dogsledding because I can get very emotional very quickly when I think about even the remote possibility of animal abuse kind of situations (should we really be tying dogs up to drag us around for our enjoyment?) – but you could tell these dogs were having sooo much fun and you could tell the guides and the company owners care so much for these animals!! They all have names, they all have little nuances and big personalities. You can read about the care they give their dogs here.

Mike having some hot apple cider after dogsledding in the Canadian Rockies!
Apple cider after dogsledding!

What an amazing experience! This trip cost us close to $500 including the actual sledding, hotel, lunch & dinners, gas, etc., so it was definitely a ‘big gift’ and something we wouldn’t be able to do often but wow, are we so happy we did it! Such a unique and unforgettable experience. I would absolutely recommend it to everyone! I really did feel like one with nature. :) People always talk about embracing winter because hey, we live here, so might as well make the best of it. This is definitely a way to make the best of it! So cool!!

So have you ever been dogsledding? Would you go?! Share your experience.. :)

Linda


Linda Hoang is a Canadian blogger based in Edmonton, Alberta, who writes about food, travel, lifestyle and pets. She's also a social media/digital specialist with a journalism background. Linda loves exploring the world with her husband Mike, eating their way through cities and photographing Instagrammable Walls. She is the founder of the Edmonton International Cat Festival and a fur-mom to two cats and two dogs.

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  • I just love the @brownbuttercafe! 💛💛💛 Pictured 📸 is their Sunny Day bowl with runny egg (🙌🏻), potato, kale, tomatoes avocado, cucumbers and yogurt. My favourite bowl here though is the Crispy Chicken on rice. 🤤 And today I also tried their housemade kettle chips and bacon jalapeño “mak & cheese” which were both soooo good (and so affordable at $2 and $2.75 each). THE BEST!
Also the best? You guys, for your very kind and supportive comments about my Big. Life. Update on the previous post. THANK YOU! 💛💛💛
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  • BIG LIFE UPDATE! 🥳
As some of you know, I’ve been on a personal leave from my work as a Digital Strategist at marketing & comms agency @calderbateman @zgm_marketing since January as @mikethyking & I explored whether some time off would help our #UnexplainedInfertility & journey to have a baby. 👶🏻 (It hasn’t. 😞 But we are still hopeful 🤞🏻)
My leave ends this month and I’ve decided I will not be returning to the agency, and will instead go full-time with my blog & personal social media + my own freelance social media strategy & consulting business! 🎉
Going out on my own is something I’ve wanted to do for many, many years. It’s something I thought I would do naturally after taking a maternity leave but that timeline kept getting pushed because I’ve never been able to get pregnant. The leave was just what I needed to reassess and make the decision to finally be my own boss!
I’m so grateful for the time I was able to take off from full-time agency work (though I am aware I was still pretty busy with personal projects 😅 lol). I’m also truly grateful for an employer that was kind & understanding enough to give me personal time off. 💗 I’ll miss working with the talented team, but am so excited for this next step in my life! 🙌🏻
Over the next few months I’ll be updating my blog with a new look & feel + better categorization, putting out (hopefully lol) even better & more useful content for followers & readers, getting some presence up for my new business & throwing myself into organizing @yegcatfest! 😸
I’m also taking new social media strategy, consulting & training clients and am so grateful for all who have been referring clients my way already (unsolicited, which I’m pretty excited about now that I am soliciting lol). 🎉
Thanks to my incredibly supportive husband & best friend @mikethyking. 💗 And thanks to all of YOU for following and engaging with me. 🙏🏻 I feel so lucky & happy that I’ve been able to turn my longtime hobby (social media 🤓) into a career, in such different ways, and now based at home with my furkids 🐶🐶🐱🐱 Read my full update at the link in my bio!
📸 credit: @sethmvc
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  • Ugh. I LOVE Korean food and this was a good one. 😍 In between #JasperPJParty & mountain adventures, we checked out the Kimchi House in the town of Jasper this weekend. This japchae glass noodle dish with beef was delicious! Along with their bulgogi and army stew (budae jjigae). (The stew broth was so good and extra spicy. But why is there never enough broth? lol) I was sad the Kimchi House didn’t serve banchan (side dishes typically provided with a Korean meal) but was happy with the rest of the meal! 🤤 #lindorktravels
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  • A weekend in the mountains 🏔 is not complete without a mountain photoshoot! 😊📸 Thanks to the @fairmontJPL for inviting me to teach some Instagram / phone photography & editing workshops for #JasperPJParty!! 💕 Thanks to everyone who came to my sessions!! 🙏🏻 Thanks to @britl for being my session helper & mountain photog!! 📸 And thanks to @theporkgirl for lending me her hat!! 😍 I have been itching for a mountain road photo for a long time so am happy to check this off my list! ✔️✔️✔️ (We were very safe about it!) #lindorktravels #fairmontJPL #myjasper
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  • Ahhh it was two years ago this weekend that I got a photo at this iconic Instagrammable #PaulSmithPinkWall 💕 in Los Angeles, California and shortly after I started making Instagrammable Wall Guides to cities, organizing wall photo walks, and searching for these walls wherever I travel. 😍💗 This is still one of my favourite walls and I wish more buildings were painted bright, uninterrupted colours like this it makes me immensely happy. 💕 #InstagrammableWalls #Instagrammable #IGwallsofLA #lindorktravels
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  • ** UPDATE! **
Congratulations to @thefuramigoss & Sarah L on Facebook, winners of tickets to the Edmonton Hime + Garden Show! Thanks everyone who entered!!
** GIVEAWAY + NEW BLOG POST! **
The Edmonton Home 🏡 + Garden 🌸 Show returns March 21-24 and I’m giving away tickets to the show! 🎉 There’s lots of awesome features to check out including Cooking Stage demos from local chefs and  @masterchefonfox Season 7 winner @chefshaunoneale! This week I made one of his recipes, delicious lemon zesty blueberry cream cheese danishes (pictured here 💕) and I look forward to seeing what he cooks up at @yeghomeshows! Head over to the link in my bio to see what other features you should visit at #EHGS19 and enter below for a chance to win tickets to the show! 🎉
HOW TO ENTER:
1. Follow me + @yeghomeshows
2. Leave a comment telling me what home renos, updates or projects you think you might work on this spring/summer! Also tag a friend to spread the word about the show + giveaway.
I’ll randomly select two winners from all entries received across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by March 18. Each winner will get a pair of tickets to the show! 💚💛
Thanks to @yeghomeshows for partnering with me to promote the show! (my blog and this post are sponsored). 😊
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  • I always feel SO lucky that I get to meet the coolest cats on the Internet (and their pawrents) through the work I do with @yegcatfest! 😸 This summer, #YEGCatFest is bringing @sukiicat and her pawrent @enchanted.forest to Edmonton to meet festival attendees!!! 😻😻😻 Suki the Adventure Cat is a gorgeous bengal cat who loves adventure! 🏔🛶 Suki is definitely one of my favourite travel Instagrammers 😹, I’m one of her 1.3 MILLION Instagram followers!! 💕 And perhaps the coolest thing about Suki? She lives in Alberta!!! 🇨🇦🙌🏻 Head to the link in my bio or Story to learn more about Suki and be sure to pre-purrchase your Cat Fest tickets! Meet & greets are included with your festival ticket. ♥️ Thanks to @fairmontmac our Celebpurrty Cat Hotel Sponsor!!
Photo Credit 📸: @enchanted.forest @sukiicat
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  • Thanks @imedia_yeg for having me back as an emcee (with @tylerjackbutler) and speaker over the weekend! ☺️ I’m always up to talk anyone’s ear off about social media & influencer marketing. 💕🤓 And always love learning from talented digital marketers! 🙌🏻 Stay tuned now for a @dontcallmeaguru #iMEDIA19 recap podcast with the special return of Tyler, pictured here looking like a gangsta! 🎙
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  • Made ginger sesame ground beef with green beans and a runny egg on rice for lunch on this very slow-moving Sunday. 🤤💕 #lindorkcooks
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  • 💛 Happy International Women’s Day! 💛 Today and every day, let’s #BalanceForBetter. Challenge gender stereotypes and bias. Insist on gender parity. Celebrate women’s achievements. Lift each other up. 💛 If you’re looking for a specific way to celebrate #IWD2019 today, consider supporting one of many women-owned or co-owned @edmontonmade businesses! 🙌🏻 NEW ON THE BLOG (link in bio), I’ve started a Guide to Women-Owned Businesses in Edmonton & Area!! There’s SO many wonderful businesses in a range of industries being led by women. Thanks to my friend (also a woman lol)  @argenplath for helping me compile this initial directory, which includes over 70 businesses!! 🎉🎉 Do check it out and I *know* I’m missing many more great ones so please comment and let me know who else should be highlighting and I’ll keep adding to the list! ☺️💛 #InternationalWomensDay2019
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  • So thrilled to have found @banhcuonyeg through Instagram! 🤤 Bánh cuốn is a delicious Vietnamese steamed rice roll filled with ground pork, mushrooms and shallots. It’s one of my dad’s favourite Vietnamese dishes and something I used to eat a lot with him! When I found out the Khau family was offering made-to-order, fresh bánh cuốn for pick-up in North Edmonton, I *had* to try! 😄 They’re so good! And bring back great memories. 😍 @banhcuonyeg is charging $6 for a dozen rolls (one order). This week I got four orders and have been having some for breakfast, lunch and dinner! 😂🤤 My parents were so happy with the flavour and quality of the rolls (they hold up really well!) that they got the Khau phone number to make their own future orders (they’re not on Instagram lol) 💕 Also it’s always wise to have a bánh cuốn maker on speed dial lol. The rolls are best with Vietnamese ham (cha) but you need to get that separately.
VIETNAMESE FOOD IS THE BEST. ☺️
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  • ** NEW BLOG POST + GIVEAWAY! **
I love Date Night! And while @mikethyking & I have done lots of different things for Date Night over the years, there’s one tried and true outing that always delivers: dinner and a movie! ♥️ If @therecroomca is part of our Date Night, we also love playing games too! ☺️ Read my sponsored blog post (link in bio) for the Ultimate Foodie Date Night inspiration which includes great food, games and entertainment! 🎉
& ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $100 GIFT CARD FOR YOUR OWN REC ROOM DATE NIGHT!
1. Be sure you’re following @therecroomca
2. Tag who you’d take to Date Night in the comments below! (one tag per comment. unlimited entries)
See the blog for more ways to enter and watch a Date Night promo video Mike and I did with The Rec Room! ☺️ I’ll randomly select a winner from all entries received on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by March 17. Good luck!! ♥️
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