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  • Writer's pictureWhitney Clarkson

Dog Sledding in Leadville, Colorado

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

If you are looking for a fun winter adventure that is unique and only available in a few select Colorado locations, try dog sledding! Alpine Adventures offers dog sledding tours right here in Leadville. Our family has been driving by Alpine Adventures on our way to Ski Cooper for years. We have always been captivated seeing the dog teams run on a beautiful, expansive snow-covered meadow with mountain views galore. We vowed to try it someday. We finally made reservations, and luckily, we picked a Colorado bluebird day with temperatures in the thirties.

Our guide, Wes, started our tour off with instructions on how our group of six would get to take turns driving the sled, sitting in the sled, and sitting on the sleigh, which the dogs followed.

The tour lasted about one hour and twenty minutes. It was so much fun! Watching the dogs was delightful. They are in their element, obviously doing what they love to do. When we stopped, they would jump and bark, wanting to get going again as soon as possible. When driving and sitting in the sled, it is surprisingly relaxing and thrilling at the same time. Throughout the whole experience, the view of the mountains was stunning!

I interviewed Wes to learn more about the dogs and dog sledding.

Tell me more about the dogs

The kennel has around 140 dogs, including a separate racing team that we take on races throughout the West. The race team consists of 30 dogs.

The dogs are all Alaskan huskies. The difference between a Siberian husky and an Alaskan husky is that Alaskan huskies are not purebreds, while Siberian huskies are. Alaskan huskies tend to be leaner and longer than Siberian huskies. Alaskans are bred with other dogs to be stronger and better at pulling sleds through the snow. Common breeds are greyhounds for speed and German shepherds for strength, intelligence, trainability, and obedience.

The dogs have their positions within the line. The lead dogs play an important role, and only about 10% of dogs qualify. Most lead dogs are female as they are calmer, more collected, and more intelligent, making them better leaders. They are typically smaller and leaner.

The wheel is the final position. The dogs get progressively bigger and stronger as you get to the back of the line.

How much do the dogs eat?

We feed the dogs 600 pounds of raw beef daily! That’s a lot of meat! The race dogs will also get pure chicken fat prior to any races.

What happens with the dogs in the summer?

We move them to a summer kennel higher up in the mountains. It is shaded, so it is cooler for the dogs. We run the dogs for their exercise if the temperature allows. Anything above 40 degrees is too hot to run the dogs.

What happens to the dogs when they retire?

The dogs end their career around twelve to thirteen years of age. The retired dogs get moved to a pen together, and we try to adopt them out when we can.

How long is the season?

It is only about 100 days, and it is getting shorter and shorter. Climate change has altered the reliability of snow on the ground. The winters have been getting shorter with lighter snow. The temperatures are also not remaining as cold. The season has typically opened in December, but that has been getting delayed. This year we couldn’t open until the first part of January. The season usually ends on April 1st, depending on snow conditions.

During your winter stay at The Silver Rose of Leadville, consider Alpine Adventures dog sledding as a fun outdoor activity for the whole family!

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