Thanks for your concern about our dogs, But I am a bit confused as tired dogs don't bark, and hungry dogs don't eat snow. So it seems we have different ideas about what dogs can do and need.
First of all, dogs are by their very nature moving animals, to a dog, movement is life, much like swimming is life for a fish. The way most modern pet dogs live their life, is extremely unsuited for them. Overweight, under-active and sedentary.
Dogs are very good at moving, many times more so than humans, and in our 20.000 year relationship we have figured out that they are way better suited at doing certain things than us. In many cases we let them get tired on our behalf. A border collie runs all day, herding sheep, so his master doesn't have to. A retriever fetches game, so his master doesn't have to and huskies pull sleds so their master doesn't have to. That the dogs get tired instead of us, is how our relationship with dogs got started so many thousands of years ago.
Secondly for any animal (humans included) to get fitter and physically stronger, it must get tired. Physical exertion, tiredness and subsequent rest and recovery allow the body to get fitter, stronger and more efficient. It is a basic principle of movement. By moving you get tired, and by resting you get fitter. If we never allow our dogs to get tired, we deny them their natural ability to get fitter and become better at moving.
The dogs running at the Santa village do not run everyday, and the drivers make sure that the dogs get the rest they need, to be able to do their job, and get fitter.
The dogs bark because they are eager to run. Just like border collies like herding sheep, pointers like pointing and hunting dogs like hunting, our huskies like to run. They display their eagerness in many ways, but barking, yelping, screaming and squealing noises are all common. Tired dogs don't bark, they are lethargic, refuse to run and stop eating.
As to the weight of the sled, over the short distances on well groomed trails that we run at Santa Village it is reasonable to assume that each dog can pull 3-4x their own body weight. Often we run 10-12 dogs in a team, and each dog on average weighs 25kg and could pull 100kg. Those 10-12 dog teams can hypothetically pull 750-1200kg. You would have to be unrealistically obese to challenge these dogs pulling ability and they are never really challenged during the season.
On any given working day, the dogs eat 4-5.000kcal, that's twice the amount that a human should eat. We breed them to have enormous appetites, and judge their tiredness by their appetite. A dog that devours its food with gusto is preferred, and we get worried when they stop eating. In fact lack of appetite is the surest way to see that a dog is over worked.
The dogs drink on average 2-3 litres of water a day. Eating snow is usually for cooling off purposes or for a bit of extra hydration. You seriously underestimate a dogs intelligence if you think that eating snow is because they are hungry.
As for the price. It is a fair price, and adequately represents the care, attention, money, love and pride that our drivers lavish on their dogs in the 364 days that you did not witness. Getting a dog team fit and able to work at the level that we require, is not cheap.
So too sum it up: tired hungry dogs don't bark or eat snow because they are hungry. Tired overworked dogs refuse to run and lose their appetite. Fit happy dogs, bark, scream and yell and run, while eating with ravenous appetites.