Preparedness is the ultimate confidence builder.
Mushing is an ancient sport and sled dogs are the ultimate endurance athletes. When you share the trail with us, we will prepare you to be coach for a day of a very powerful team of dogs. Be ready for the challenges of winter travel, both in getting to us and in regard to the elements and all old man winter can throw at you. Please read below to ensure your success and the success of your team. Thank you!
When is the weather the best?
December through mid-February can be quite cold, but the weather in the mountains in Colorado is extremely variable. You can count on morning trips being colder and it warming up significantly by midday. This is a bit of a catch 22 because dogs run best around zero Fahrenheit, and humans not so much! Dressing properly is the key! See the GEAR LIST for suggestions.
Can we bring cameras, etc?
Yes you can but you cannot take pictures or video while driving the dog teams. All camera equipment must be either in the hands of a passenger in the dog sled or it must be handsfree. You may bring cellphones but they must be in airplane mode once you arrive at the trail. We will remind all guests of this rule and we enforce it strictly. There is space in the sleds for a backpack with personal items. We offer a very affordable picture package you may add at checkout!
What kind of dogs are these?
Alaskan Huskies! And yes they are a breed of dogs, bred for performance not for appearance. We want hard workers with tremendous appetites, strong feet, decent double coats and we want team players. AK Huskies are bred for these traits and more. It doesn't hurt if they are cute and fluffy :). There is more to the story and we will share it with you when we meet!
Are sled dogs happy in their work?
Sled dogs are extremely happy when they are working and sled dogs here at Snow Buddy have an exceptionally good life by all measures. We have some media here on the site and countless reviews to prove it, but you don't have to take our word for it, come and see for yourselves!
Is mushing a safe activity for all ages?
We ask people to assume a high level of personal accountability when they participate in our program. Backcountry travel alone requires you keep your head on a swivel. We add in 32+ sled dogs at the trailhead everyday, people we just met, etc, and it can seem like organized chaos. That said, we go to great lengths to provide an opportunity for every guest of every age to participate safely. Our records for young and old are 97 years young and 6 weeks old! Call with questions or concerns, we never hesitate to accommodate people from all walks of life. We have had a lot of success over the years and we continue to feel humbled and honored by our loyal supporters and their continued love for the Snow Buddies.
Can we bring our little baby in the sled?
We don't mind who you bring along! We do need to have an honest conversation about where you are from and what past experience you have in caring for yourself and your baby in challenging outdoor environments. For example, a 10 month old baby born in Colorado to a mountain family will typically have no trouble coming along. If you are from Palm Beach, FL and your 10 month old baby is not used to wearing much more than a swimsuit, we have seen babies like this, bundled the first time for winter, just about ruin the trip for everyone, but especially mom and dad. This is a special activity. We really want everyone to get the most out of it, and we don't want anyone left out, but within reason. Please call with additional questions and concerns and know we will do everything we can to set you up for success.
How many sleds do you run at once with how many dogs?
We run up to 4 double driver sleds on every trip. Typically there are 2 to 3 people on each sled. The number of dogs we run per team varies greatly from as few as 4 to as many as 12 depending on which trip you book and when you come, as well as how much you and your group members weigh. Feel free to call or email with questions!
How many people do you accommodate per trip? Per day?
We can accommodate typically 8 to 12 people at each time slot. We have often divided larger groups up across a day and helped to coordinate a catered lunch so everyone can be together at our trailhead for the midday meal. We specialize in smaller groups because we want to provide an authentic experience for our guests. Complex activities are often simplified to drive more business for a larger crowd. We don't want to compromise the quality or authenticity of such a special activity. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding.
How long are we on the sleds? Does everyone drive?
We guarantee each driving guest will get to command his or her dog team for at least a half an hour. It is often longer than that and we do vary the trail so that we can always put the dogs and their needs first. Guests will be traveling down the trail for typically an hour and a half, again trail time can be longer depending on weather, trail conditions, time of year, etc. Thank you for your flexibility as we manage a lot of moving parts!
How many miles is the trail?
Our shortest trail is just under 8 miles. Our longest trail is over 20 miles. How far you go will depend on a lot of factors not limited to temperature, weather conditions, trail conditions, dogs' needs, guests' needs, which trip you reserved, etc. Regardless of any one of these things, what we always guarantee is time driving the sled. Please feel free to call or email with any questions!
What is your refund policy?
All reservations require a 50% deposit at the time of reservation
$100 + your booking fee through the website is immediately non-refundable. The $100 flat fee pays in advance for permitting in the National Forest and we cannot get a refund for your permits, so neither can you. The booking fee goes to the reservation platform and if we refunded that it would come out of our pockets. Thank you for your understanding. If any of this makes you nervous, we suggest you purchase trip insurance.
If you must cancel your reservation, we require 72 hours advance written notice. You may call too, but please email and include your booking number.
You will receive a reminder from the reservations software 96 hours out and that will be your last opportunity to cancel your reservation without being required to pay in full.
We handle cancellations on a case by case basis but cannot make exceptions for the $100 + booking fee. Please don't call and ask, regardless of the worthiness of your reason for cancelling. Again, thank you for your understanding.
What is included in the price?
Expert instruction and guide service, with one guide designated to each sled individually
Long range radios for each sled and guide pairing for clear and immediate communication
Baffin Pac Boots for each guest (we only have full sizes, but we do have kids/juniors)
Extra winter gear, head to toe, whatever you need, just ask! We might dress you if you need help!
Homemade cookies and warm drinks at our backcountry camp during the warm-up
Portraits with dogs at the camp with your camera. You may add the entire photo package if you wish! It's a steal we promise! Our guides work very hard to capture all the best and most beautiful moments for you!
Do you offer discounts?
We do not. There are so many wonderful people out there worthy of discounts. Our military service men and women come to mind first, but we cannot offer discounts to anyone. We have offered small cash discounts in the past. We do always require a credit card deposit. If you want to talk about a cash discount, call and we can chat.
We have a staggering amount of overhead. If we are lucky we get to operate for 5 months out of each year. The dogs obviously continue to eat the other 7 months of the year and they eat us out of house and home! We feed a little more than a bag of dog food per day! The dogs need daily exercise, poop scooped twice a day, fresh water, tons of brushing...the chore list goes on not to mention vet care. Because we take dogs in sometimes in the winter of their lives, we have some dogs here who will retire after running with us only a short time if at all. Old dogs who no longer pull sleds go up for adoption but some remain here for the rest of their lives. They are expensive to keep. We don't put dogs down when they are no longer useful. We have so much heart in this and so much love for our animals. We appreciate your understanding and support!
What about tipping?
Our staff works very long hard days in the cold to have everything prepared for you to have an exceptional and often once in a lifetime experience with us and our dogs. A typical work day begins at 6 am and wraps up after 6 pm. Please understand they work for gratuity and we consider 10% of your total bill to be a minimum for our standard of service. If you have the means to be more generous we do believe you will feel they have earned that consideration. If you come with a larger party, please expect an automatic gratuity to be applied to your bill at the end when you check out in our gift shop. Guides do not solicit or collect tips. You will be invited to leave what you deem fair on your balance due when we settle up with us. You may leave cash which is preferred by the guides or you may leave the gratuity on your credit card we will have on file from your initial reservation. Thank you again for your consideration!