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Dogsledding recommendations?

washington, dc
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Dogsledding recommendations?

My wife has talked about wanting to do a dogsledding trip for some time now, and I'd love to surprise her with one for her birthday.

I've seen several outfitters listed near Ely, and I wanted to see if anyone has an opinion on a good option?

Will there be snow the last week in Dec (between Christmas & New Years)? On the opposite side - will driving from Minneapolis be completely treacherous?

These are a few of the options I saw:

http://www.whitewilderness.com

http://www.dogsledding.com/

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Bemidji, Minnesota
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1. Re: Dogsledding recommendations?

I have lived over 50 years in northern Minnesota (about 200 miles from Ely) and have never seen a Christmas that wasn't white. I'm pretty sure you will see snow in Ely in late December. Unless you arrive during a snowstorm, the roads should be in pretty good shape. Our DOT people are out plowing and sanding before daylight.

Ely, Minnesota
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2. Re: Dogsledding recommendations?

Great plan! I live in Ely and snow is very likely at that time of year! I would recommend the dogsledding.com company. The people who run this company are great people and you won't be disappointed. Actually I saw Samantha Brown from the travel channel a few months ago and she was using this company. I don't know the other company but I am sure they would also have what you are looking for.

In terms of the drive you should be ok as long as you keep the speeds down. The worst part of your drive will be between Tower and Ely. The roads are always the worst there. But again, keep the speed down and you will be fine. I would also suggest not taking State Highway #1 to Ely. This is the road that comes up from the North Shore of Lake Superior and I always hate using this road in the winter. At times it will be snow packed and not very nice. Come up 169 and you will have a better trip!

washington, dc
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3. Re: Dogsledding recommendations?

Great tips - thanks for the info!

Munich, Germany
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4. Re: Dogsledding recommendations?

Near Ely, Paul Schurke's Wintergreen Lodge (dogsledding.com) has the highest media profile because he's an Arctic explorer. His operation is known for the high quality of its food, and he knows how to take care of clients from the coasts, so that may be your best choice. I stayed at the Blue Heron Lodge in Ely once with one of his groups. They were all from the coasts and seemed happy with the trip.

The more important thing to decide is what kind of mushing you want to do: Do you want to ride in a sled, or do you want to mush one yourself? Mushing your own is a LOT more fun, but you have to be in decent shape because you'll be running alongside the sled on hills.

I went with Arleigh Jorgenson's Sled Dog Adventures, www.dogmushing.com, in Superior National Forest off the North Shore, and had a blast, midwestweekends.com/plan_a_trip/outdoors_rec… He's the dean of Minnesota mushers and runs a more dog-focused operation (not too many bells and whistles, but great mushing). You can save money by taking a day trip and staying at a nearby cabin, though it's still expensive, $320. I don't know much about Peter McClelland's White Wilderness, but he's a Beargrease musher, so I'm sure his dogs are fast.

I don't think you have to worry too much about the roads and driving. You should have snow in Ely over the holiday week, but a good layer is not guaranteed (I like early March for mushing). The best chance of good snow then is on the Gunflint Trail, between Ely and the North Shore.

I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time!

Beth at MidwestWeekends.com

Ely, Minnesota
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5. Re: Dogsledding recommendations?

Check out this information from the Ely Chamber of Commerce. This gives a bit of info on each of the dog sledding groups. The other posters are correct about the weather. We tend to have snow beginning in November and manage to keep it until April. All the main roads are kept pretty clean in the winter time because we're so used to tons of snow. And because our temps are lower, we don't run into a lot of problems with ice on the roads.

You also may want to check to see what your flight would cost into Duluth. Northwest Airlines is the only major airlines that flies there. Sometimes it's worth the extra cost. Duluth is 2 hours from Ely. The St. Paul/Minneapolis airport is just over 4.

Have fun planning!!

Ely, Minnesota
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6. Re: Dogsledding recommendations?

Oops! Sorry! Here's the link I meant to include http://www.ely.org/winter/dogsled.php

7. Re: Dogsledding recommendations?

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