PLANNING YOUR MULTI DAY
DOG SLEDDING TOUR
What kind of accommodations will you be most comfortable with?
Most of our trips utilize Arctic Oven Tents, a roomy and luxurious tent (it's 6'3" at the top), equipped with a small wood stove that turns the space into a cozy and warm retreat from the outside temperatures. These tents are famous for being 80F inside when its -40F outside. The stove will die down overnight, and it will grow cool in the tent, but you will be cozy in the ultra-cold weather sleeping bags we provide. Our multi-day trips into Tolovana Hot Springs and the White Mountains utilize cozy hand-built log cabins in addition to the Arctic Oven. Cabins are the epitome of “rustic luxury.” Spacious and warm, the log cabins we use on our tours are small, with an open floor plan, small kitchen, large wood stove, and bunks and/or a loft large enough to accommodate couples. We also offer a more luxurious lodge to lodge experience that combines two nights of Arctic Oven camping on the approach and return with the main accommodations being private rooms at full-service (i.e. running water) remote Alaskan lodges along the Denali Highway or Iditarod Trail. Our Arctic Trips utilize Arctic Oven tents only.
What area of Alaska would you like to explore?
The ancient ridges of the White Mountains National Recreation Area ? Mystical Interior Alaska rivers, bogs, and hot springs? The stunning mountains of the Denali Region? The mountain-framed landscapes of the Susitna River Region and Iditarod Trail? Or the unbelievably dramatic Arctic tundra and granite spires of the Brooks Range? Each region differs drastically from the other in offerings and landscape. The Interior trips are more technical than the Denali trips or the Susitna trips, which both follow relatively mellow landscapes. Concerned about your abilities? You are probably more suited for this than you think. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns and we will guide you through a series of questions designed to pinpoint your comfort level.
When to visit?
Whether your timing is based on available vacation time, a significant life event, or the hunt for the aurora borealis, we have an incredible tour for you. The dog sledding season in Alaska starts in December and runs through April. The amount, or lack thereof, of daylight is something many do not consider when planning a trip to Alaska in the winter. During the month of December, Fairbanks has only about four hours of daylight. That being said, those four hours are bookended on either side by hours of incredible sunrises and sunsets. The light in Alaska at that time, while brief, is astounding. That, coupled with long nights lit by shimmering aurora, make visiting Alaska in the depth of winter a more appealing prospect than at first thought. The sun comes back in full force in February. The land is still cold, but the hoarfrost glitters in the light and snowfields glimmer as we cross wintery landscapes. By the beginning of March, we have twelve hours of daylight and the hoarfrost only makes a brief appearance before melting under the heat of the spring sun. For aurora hunters, we recommend visiting the White Mountains in December or January. For sightseeing, we recommend dog sledding the Denali Highway in February or March. April is for the Arctic — a musher’s heaven on earth, with endless mountain snowscapes, unlimited trails, ridges dotted with migrating caribou, sixteen hours of daylight, and hot midday sunshine to bask in.
Deposit and Payment.
We require a deposit of 50% of the trip total to reserve your spot. The remainder is due 60 days prior to the trip start date. You will get a reminder email. You can pay by check or credit card. Credit card payments are accepted online or by phone.
Multi-day trips typically require a four person minimum to run, but can be bought out if you desire a private tour. We cap our trips at six people to control quality of experience. The Aurora Overnight does not require a minimum (single travelers welcome!).
All trips will have you fly into the Fairbanks International Airport, except for the Susitna River Retreat, for which you’ll fly into Anchorage. We recommend arriving to Fairbanks the day before your trip starts. We will pick you up from your hotel the morning of the starting date. We will arrive back to Fairbanks the evening of the last day of your trip. Arrival time is dependent on unpredictable factors such as weather, trail, and road conditions. In case of delay, do not book a flight out same day or next morning after your trip ends. You may appreciate a day or two to clean up, repack, and reflect on your adventure before traveling home.
Hotel pickup/drop-off pre and post departure is included in your trip. Please make sure your accommodations are in Fairbanks (not North Pole, Ester, or Salcha). It is most convenient for us if you stay on the northeast side of town. We recommend Moose Manor B&B, Minnie Street B&B, Aurora Lodge, Clarion Hotel, Springhill Suites, the Westmark, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, & the Hampton Inn. The night of your trip orientation we will put you up at a hotel downtown that provides you with breakfast in the morning (usually the Clarion). We are located 20 minutes north of downtown, and 40 minutes from the airport (southwest) side of town. If you would like to group your accommodation with that which we provide, please coordinate with us beforehand.
Valuables & Extra Gear
You are more than welcome to keep your extra gear at Arctic Dog Adventure Co. However, I cannot guarantee its safety, or that the cat will not sleep on it. Alternatively, check with your hotel to see if they will store your luggage.
Driving the Dog Sled
You will drive your own dog team. One person per sled. Your dog team will consist of 3-6 dogs, depending on your weight. You will not be able to ride at any point. We have a 1:3 guide/client ratio. Your guide will be in the lead, keeping a close eye on the trail ahead and also on every person, dog, and line behind them. You are responsible for keeping your sled on the trail and maintaining the speed the guide sets. As you grow more comfortable with sledding, you will start to be able to identify other variables, which will be helpful to your guide, but don’t concern yourself with anything other than keeping your speed constant and your main line tight. If this doesn’t make sense, don't worry, it will!
We are usually on the trail for 6-8 hours, including lunch. Variables are mileage & stoppage time. Weather permitting, we will return to town late in the evening of the last day of your trip.
Our focus is on providing dog sled adventures that are challenging, but empowering. We are not interested in having clients suffer or feel exhausted at the end of the day. You should be the type of tired that comes with a good long day outside; one that will give you a good sleep, but not drain you so much you cannot walk about camp or stay up to watch the aurora. Each trip differs in difficulty — check the itinerary for details. In general, we mush on established trails. No jumble ice. Anticipate glare ice on any trip. Sometimes we will need to walk in deep snow to collect firewood, etc. The dog sled is never so heavy the dogs cannot pull it up a hill themselves, although they often appreciate and sometimes need a little help (in the form of pedaling, not active pushing/walking) from their musher. Pedaling is similar to skateboarding but requires less balance as you have a sled to hold onto while you push. Think pushing/riding a shopping cart that is low to the ground and steering itself for the most part.
What we are most concerned about is your ability to take a hard fall. A technical trail will likely have you tipping over, dragging, or worse case: having your sled slip out from under you, slamming your body onto ice. You need to be strong enough to hold on to the sled so the dogs stop (this is for the safety of the dogs) and also confident that your bones will not break with a hard fall. We have successfully taken out clients ranging in age from 12 to 80 on multi day dog sled trips. If you are concerned about your ability to drive a dog team, please contact us and we can discuss it further. You are probably more capable than you think. Remember, the dogs are the athletes, and for the most part we are mushing (and tipping over) in deep snow.
Please follow the provided gear list closely. Arctic Dog Adventure Co. will provide you with a “sled bag,” a waterproof bag for your personal clothing & gear. If you would like to use your own bag, it must be a 45L Patagonia Black Hole bag or similar. While we can carry all gear needed ensure our comfort on the trail, we still need to be weight conscious. Most of the space in your dog sled is reserved for communal gear and dog food.
For most multi-day trips, we will have a full day of orientation at Arctic Dog Adventure Co. We will pick you up from your accommodations in Fairbanks and bring you to the kennel. We will go over gear, trip expectations, Leave No Trace camping practices, pack your “sled bags,” and take a short (~1 hour) mushing trip to practice sled handling skills and techniques. We may pack up the truck before we go. Lunch and dinner will be served at the kennel before you are taken back to town to a hotel for one last shower and soft hotel bed before departure.
Food & Drink
Please let us know in advance of any food preferences or restrictions (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, etc.) It is our pleasure to accommodate you. Snacks are provided, in addition to three meals a day. If you would like to bring your own snacks, please restrict them to a quart ziplock (~2 lb). It is very important to stay hydrated in cold weather. We expect you to drink, at minimum, one 32oz bottle of water per day. Two is preferable. You do not drink to thirst, you drink to take care of yourself. Alcohol is not provided on our trips but you are welcome to bring your own.
Expect zero cell reception on your trip. Your guide will carry a satellite communication device for safety/trip operations, not for your use to contact the outside world. We recommend bringing a small journal to record your impressions of the day. We encourage you to tweet/gram your thoughts when you get back to town and please tag us! @arcticdogco
If you think your guide(s) did a great job, a tip of 5-10% per person is very much appreciated. Otherwise, please consider a donation to the Free Run Fence Fund — our 2020 kennel redesign project that we are saving up for.
Booking & Cancellation Policy
We require a deposit of 50% of total to reserve your spot. Cancellations must be made in writing. A full refund of the deposit, minus a $100 processing fee, will be issued for cancellations received more than 60 days from trip date. If a cancellation is received less than 60 days from trip date, a 50% refund of the total will be issued. No refund for cancellations received less than 30 days prior to trip date, but payment will be considered credit. Credit is good for one calendar year from time of booking. Credit can be transferred.
Trip Cancellation on Our End
Arctic Dog Adventure Co. reserves the right to cancel a tour for any reason. In the rare case Arctic Dog Adventure Co. cancels a trip, we will refund you in full. Refund is limited to funds directly paid to Arctic Dog Adventure Co. and will not include expenses incurred in your trip planning process. We reserve the right to refuse any participant participation. We also reserve the right to cancel a trip due to lack of participants. No reimbursement is provided for trips postponed, adjusted, or canceled due to dangerous or inclement weather. We have yet to cancel a trip in our four years of operation, but this year could always be the year; we prioritize safety of dogs and humans above all.
We define severe weather as -30F in the valley, a blizzard with wind warning in effect, or unsafe ice conditions. Our trips are designed for safe travel in all conditions. We have not canceled a multi-day trip due to weather, but we have rerouted, postponed, and adjusted trips due to dangerous or inclement weather.
Travel & Medical Insurance
We do not require travel insurance, but we highly recommend it. Travel insurance will cover your costs in the instance you need to cancel on your end due to unforeseeable events. Travel insurance costs 2-8% of a trip total and usually includes medical evacuation. Keep in mind all of our trips operate in remote Alaska, far away from the road system.
Questions? Please give us a call at (907) 841-4694 or send us a message using the contact form below. Weekends and evenings OK, but please remember Alaska has its own time zone.