*notcot in nature , 22:10

Snowy Owl Dog Sledding - Canmore- 02.24.15

dogMAIN0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

Dog Sledding!!! I’ve always been curious about what dog sledding is like, so when Travel Alberta asked if we wanted to try it, of course we said yes! Today we joined Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours for a 2 hour adventure, and it was eye opening! First, for a bit of back story - Snowy Owl Sled Dog Kennel was created in 1983 by Connie and Charles Arsenault as one of the first dog sledding tours, and is now run by their kids, Jereme and Carlin. They have around 175 dogs, and tend to breed/adopt their dogs. While they are of racing stock, they really train them for tourist adventures - meaning they are all extremely people and camera friendly, and love the hugs and attention from all the visitors. Their website is extremely detailed about the high standards of their kennel, their dog training, feeding, and why their dogs are everything. The love between the dogs and the Snowy Owl folks is apparent as soon as you meet them all - so much playful passion and work ethic from both the dogs and humans! Even though the snow was minimal, and the adventure was not as awesome as it can be (i’ve got to try again in fresh powder!) - the experience was fascinating, the dogs adorable, and Shawn and I learned a lot riding with Jereme.

Take a peek at the stunning adventure on the next page! And of course, tons of adorable dog pics.

First stop - meet up, sign waivers, get rentals if needed at their HQ in Canmore. dogMAIN00.jpg

While you wait - this promo video by Hiro Shinozaki is playing.

Then you’re shuttled up (about 20 minutes) to the Spray Lakes Campgrounds where they have set up the sled dog staging area. Jereme is there to greet us and teach us the basics of dog sledding - from how to treat the dogs, musher terminology, and how to drive the team. dogMAIN1.jpg

It’s easy to get distracted with how playful the dogs are! dogMAIN2.jpg

Most important rule - HOLD ON at all times! dogMAIN3.jpg

As soon as he assigns teams, the dogs are howling and ready to go! dogMAIN4.jpg


Then we hop on- and off we go! dogMAIN5.jpg

While Shawn drives, i’m in the sled - turning the camera around behind me - here’s the view! dogMAIN6.jpg

Throughout the adventure, you certainly see the dog rears most of the time… and are constantly watching to make sure they are ok, and slow it down or stop if they need anything. dogrun1.jpg

On the down hills, they are flying! dogMAIN7.jpg

Rest break! dogMAIN8.jpg


They give you that look when they are ready to go… dogMAIN10.jpg

… it’s also time to swap drivers! So this time Shawn hopped in the sled, and I tried driving the team! dogMAIN11.jpg


They check on you periodically - often telling you that it’s time to help! Lighten the load by running alongside, or maybe something’s up… you definitely have to stay in tune with your team. dogrun3.jpg

How spectacular is the view? dogMAIN12.jpg

When we’re done, they all happily relax - tongues out, big grins! dogMAIN13a.jpg

Gucci was quite a trouble maker on our team, constantly carrying sticks while running, or trying to grab new ones on the run. dogMAIN14.jpg

Jereme hanging out with brothers, Frodo and Legolas! dogMAIN15.jpg


After the run, the dogs love the attention, especially the hugs, scratches, belly rubs and more… dogMAIN17.jpg




When being transported from the kennel to staging site, they ride in these specially made trucks. Sometimes they will swap out dogs, and a few may rest in the truck between runs. dogMAIN21.jpg

All in all - breathtaking! Both dogs and humans at Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours definitely love the adventure of showing thousands of visitors their view of Alberta. dogMAIN22.jpg

Oooh and for some videos of it all in action - here are two we posted to instagram:

And in slowmo…

A video posted by Shawn Sims (@rshawnsims) on

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1 Notes

I love the way the dogs are clearly having fun and lapping up the attention.
We have dog sledding groups in Australia. They’re only run in winter using wheeled sleds because less than 5% of Australia gets snow.

Here in South Australia we’ve been getting temperatures in the high 30’s (around 100ºF) for the last few weeks. My mother would have called sites like yours psychological air conditioning. The thought of snow makes me feels about 10 degrees cooler. Lol.

----- Steve Taylor 28.02.15 10:17

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