Mush Mush! Yes, Even YOU Can Dog-sled
Explore the backcountry this winter with the help of hard-working, huskies
By Kyle Kirves
“Don’t ski? Don’t bother.” That’s an old saw you’ll hear about Colorado from folks whose acquaintance with the state is limited to family trips to Vail, televised travel shows, or flashy outside magazines. But you can have a howlin’ good time in the high country even if you don’t shred the slopes. Authentic winter adventure awaits in Summit County (and beyond) whispering through the pines on the runners of a dog sled, even if you’ve never mushed before.
“We consider ourselves pretty lucky to live in an area surrounded by such beauty and with so much to experience,” according to Good Times Adventures in Breckenridge. “While our location is definitely out there, that’s exactly what makes it perfect for what we do.”
Good Times caters to all ages from 5 to 95, and trails range from flat tracks to rugged jaunts through the trees.
And the company likes to reassure the public that their dogs are people, too. “We work with one of the most respected ‘working dog’ kennels in the country, Snow Caps Sled Dogs,” Good Times reports. The dogs are treated well and enjoy racing around the backcountry. Good Times is home to 180 Siberian husky dogs – all born, bred, and trained on premises – and unlike a lot of professional athletes, they are all friendly, approachable, hard-working, and willing to pose for neck hugs and selfies. To keep them trim but ready, the dogs are fed a hearty meat soup, sometimes as much as four times daily.
Not surprisingly, the dogs have more stamina, strength, and ability than the mule teams they replaced in the late 1800s.
The Breckenridge-area tours are highly interactive experiences for guests as they wind their way through the peaceful Swan River Valley. Unlike some dog-sled operations around the country, Good Times provides a hands-on experience by letting guests drive the sleds. Guides on snowmobiles lead the pack, providing a safe adventure.
Tours run December through March, and three teams with guides are on the trail from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It makes for an early start at Good Times Adventures, often as early as 5 a.m. so employees can get everything ready. While you wait for your team, you can hang out in Good Times Adventures welcoming lodge. Also, if you’ve forgotten something or maybe need a gear loan, they can fix you up.
Good Times Adventures also offers a summer program featuring tours on dog carts, meet and greets with the dogs, and a kennel tour at Snow Caps Sled Dogs.
In winter, each tour takes about an hour and it is spent entirely with the team. Riders do a six-person relay with guests switching off between being the musher, passenger, and riding with the guide on a sled behind the supporting snowmobile.
So, if you’re looking for a break or alternative to the slopes this winter, embrace your inner Yukon gold-rusher and consider running with the huskies. Going to the dogs never sounded like so much fun.
Kyle Kirves drinks beer, plays guitar, runs trails, and manages projects – all with varying degrees of success. While not a craftsman himself, he is quite content writing about the Colorado artisans who create such wonderful things and memorable experiences.