You don't have to go to Alaska to enjoy great dog sled rides. Lake Placid offers visitors a chance to experience first-hand the thrill of gliding across the snow and ice behind a team of eager, enthusiastic sled dogs.
Now granted, travel by dog sled isn't a common mode of transportation here in New York state. But there are some hardy souls who combine their love of dogs with a love of winter.
Many people who see the dogs for the first time are often surprised, expecting to see big dogs like Alaskan Malamutes. But most mushers want smaller dogs, who may not be able to pull as much, but are much faster and can go further. Usually, the dogs are a type called Alaskan Huskies, which isn't really an actual breed of dog, but a hybrid mix of Siberian Husky, Border Collie, hound and a few other things (my dad used to call dogs like this "Heinz 57"). The important thing is that the dog loves to pull and run!
What Can You Expect On Dog Sled Rides?
First of all, expect to have fun! This is something that's not your run-of-the-mill winter activity, and you'll want to make sure to have that video camera handy. The dogs are friendly, but they're really working dogs, so don't expect to be slobbered over and jumped on. They appreciate a pat for a job well-done, but their biggest joy is to run so for the dogs, that's the most fun for them.
You'll need to dress warmly - the dogs run at faster speeds than you might expect, so you'll feel a pretty good wintry breeze generated by their movement. If you're not dressed right, you'll be too cold to enjoy the ride. The sled comes equipped with warm blankets to snuggle under, too.
The dogs and sleds are courtesy of Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours, based out of nearby Vermontville, New York. They're there pretty much every day from December till April. To find the dog sled rides, just walk out onto Mirror Lake - you can't miss them! Price for a 10-minute ride is between $6 and $12, depending on the number of people you'll put on the sled.
If you'd like a preview of the fun, check out this video of the dog sled rides at Lake Placid, shot by our local news channel!
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