Article by Tom Selwick
Experience one of the less well known winter sports when you vacation in Park City, Utah. The Rocky Mountains offer the ideal terrain for any winter sport, but dog sledding is especially fun.
Even though dog sledding is a purely recreational sport today, this has not always been the case. For hundreds of years before around the 1800s, dog sledding was used as a main form of transportation around the Arctic region of the world.
Dog sledding was used for a long time even after snowmobiles and airplanes were invented because the harsh weather conditions would prevent these new technologies from working properly. Dogs were the only way cargo and people could travel through many of the northern wildernesses for a long time.
Some researchers even believe that the peoples that inhabited that region would not have been able to live there without the assistance of the dogs and sleds. The dogs were responsible for the transportation of everything including daily necessities, mail, and medicine.
The first dog sled races that we know of today occurred between 1850 and 1886. In 1886, a sled dog race was help at the Winter Carnival in Minnesota.
This race has become a tradition that has lasted to today and is still a big part of the festival. The Winter Carnival race in 1917 that ran from Winnipeg to Saint Paul became the basis for the Walt Disney movie Iron Will many years later.
When the Alaskan Gold Rush and the Yukon Gold Rush struck the north, sled dog races started being followed throughout the world. The first and most prominent of these races was the All-Alaska Sweepstakes.
The All-Alaska Sweepstakes were first set up in Nome, Alaska. When the gold rushes ended around 1920, the gold miners returned to their homes and brought the dog racing tradition with them.
These races became very popular very quickly in New England. It was an extremely popular sport throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
Businesses would sponsor the best professional mushers and would fund the teams to travel throughout North America to compete in their sport. Throughout this time, the popularity and news coverage helped the sport spread even further.
By 1932 dog sledding was considered a popular enough sport to include in the Lake Placid Winter Olympic games. Twenty years later, the dog races were again held in the Oslo Olympics in 1952.
However, the dog sledding race was held as a pulka race instead. In a pulka race the driver follows the dogs on skis behind the toboggan or pulka that the dogs are pulling. It was not until 1992 that sled dog racing was officially declared an Olympic sport by the International Federation of Sleddog Sports.
They hoped this would help focus and provide an outlet for the hard work of many national, local, and international racers as the strove to win the gold and the Olympian status.
Today, hundreds of people experience this history and the joy of the relationship between man and dog every year in Park City. Dog sledding is a fun sport that the entire family can enjoy.
There are two main options that most visitors select from. The first allows the entire family to learn and practice driving the dogs.
During this activity, the family will be taken through several exercises that will teach them how to properly interact with the dogs while on some of the most beautiful trails by Park City.
The second option allows you to choose the destination, trail, and make any other special requests that you would like. This option has catered to marriage proposals, bringing a private chef along, private parties, pretend races, business retreats, and tours of the area.
This option will fit any vacation plan or any lifestyle. There is no age limit on these dog sled rides.
The dogs are very friendly and non-aggressive. Children and parents will love their experience with the dogs.
For the most part the dogs are Huskies or Malamutes. These dogs love to interact with people and travel all over the mountainsides of the Wasatch and Uinta Mountain Ranges.
The opportunity to dog sled simply cannot be passed up. It will be a very fun and rich learning experience that everyone will remember with fondness for the years to come.
This is the perfect opportunity to get away from the world and draw closer as a family in the great outdoors.
Tom Selwick is a resident of Utah and has written hundreds of articles relating to tourism and Park City Townhomes. He has been involved in local travel and tourism for over 20 years. Contact Info: Tom Selwick TomSelwick09@gmail.com http://www.parksedgeparkcity.com