This is the latest stop in the series 101 Things To Do. We took a break from weekly stops due to the pandemic, but we continue to highlight outdoor activities that don't conflict with health and safety recommendations.

Visitors to Sno-Trek Dog Sled Adventures will quickly learn that owner Howard Thompson loves dogs and loves teaching people about working with dogs.

“We are a dog sledding school,” Thompson said. “Our mission is to educate the public about sled dogs and dog sledding.”

To do this, Thompson offers two programs. The first is an Introduction to Mushing. This is for people who want to learn about dog sledding, watch him work with the dogs, and go for a ride on a dog sled with a guide controlling the sled. With the class and ride, the program covers about three miles and lasts about three hours.

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The second program, the Mini-Adventure, is for people who might want to learn more about dog sledding. This program includes the class, plus a hands-on experience of harnessing the dogs and going for a five to six mile sled ride with the opportunity to drive the dog sled while supervised by Thompson or one of his guides.

In both programs, safety is a priority, according to Thompson.

“We are here to demonstrate the work ethic of the dogs, not how fast they can go,” Thompson explained. “Speed can injure dogs as well as people, if you don’t know what you are doing. Our goal is to teach you a lot, then send you home in one piece, just like you got here.”

Owner Howard Thompson says safety is first, whether that is dealing with powerful sled dogs or the coronavirus. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia
Owner Howard Thompson says safety is first, whether that is dealing with powerful sled dogs or the coronavirus. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia

Thompson said it is exciting to get the dogs ready for a ride. When he brings out the harnesses, the “dogs start going crazy,” he said, “but as soon as we release the team, they become quiet. The sled jerking and jolting before we take off is contrasted by the quiet when we are on the trail.”

Thompson said many people arrive thinking about riding on the sled, but by the time they are done, their focus is usually on the dogs.

“The dogs capture peoples’ sense of adventure,” he said. “Their enthusiasm for pulling is great. The harder it gets, the harder they pull, and yet, they are wagging their tails.”

During the sled ride, visitors travel through meadows and woods along the Buffalo River. Thompson makes time for people to take photos of the dogs as well as of the scenery along the way.

“We often see eagles perched over the Buffalo River,” Thompson said. “It is a nature-driven outdoor experience. It is so beautiful down there by the river, so peaceful.”

If you go...

  • Name: Sno-Trek Sled Dog Adventures
  • Address: W573 U.S. Highway 10, Mondovi
  • Phone: 715-797-5351
  • Website: sno-trek.com/index.php
  • Email: howard@sno-trek.com
  • Hours: Open seven days a week during snow season. If snow is low, they use sleds with wheels. Call for reservations.
  • Cost: Introduction to Mushing - adult $150. Mini-adventure - adult $300. Discounts for children and families. See website for full price list.