When I was given the chance to get back to enjoying winter by going dogsledding earlier this month, I was grateful, but also anxious. Even though I used to love exploring Sun Peaks as a snowboard enthusiast, my diagnosis of Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA) in 2018 affected my mobility and balance, and has changed my life in a lot of different ways.
Dogsledding is probably the one adventure at Sun Peaks I never experienced in my able-bodied days. I don’t know why I waited so long, but I would definitely do it again.
I had a lot of fears heading into the day — Turns out I am pretty good at psyching myself out. It snowed quite a lot the night prior and usually when it snows that much, I stay put. Trying to get around in any amount of snow is a challenge for me.
As a former winter freak, I used to be happier the more it snowed. Now, winter can be depressing for me because I can’t enjoy the snow like I used to. But that was not the case when visiting Mountain Man Dogsled Adventures.
Staff were prepared for me and I really didn’t have much to worry about. Guide and co-owner Chris slowly walked me to my sled. This had been my biggest worry because I have very little balance and didn’t know the terrain. But the distance to my sled was not far — maybe 25 feet. Once I was seated in my sled all my anxiety and worries were gone. I knew I was in good hands!
Taryn, co-owner alongside her husband Chris, walked me through everything, and gave me the rundown of all the dogs who were going to be pulling my butt down the trails. The dogs were probably more excited than I was — They were definitely ready to get out there.
I had one special guest dog, Sonic, who ran beside us the entire tour. From what I gathered, she is 12 years old and retired from sledding. I think she was there for my protection, but honestly, maybe she just wanted to be by her owners. I thought that was so cool because I imagine that just like a lot of people, she just wanted to be included.
I was amazed by how fast the dogs pulled us, even up inclines. Taryn was a great guide; she explained the commands they use to talk to the dogs and told me about the terrain we were crossing.
With the fresh snow there were even a few face washes, which I didn’t realize how much I missed as a former snowboarder. Even rosy cheeks and runny noses are kind of appealing in that neck of the woods.
The ride was predictably bumpy in some spots, but very tolerable, and I never once felt like I was going to be thrown from my sled. The snow-covered trees were so nice to see. There were a few stops along the way, and Taryn took some pictures for me from the front of the sled to include all the dogs on our team.
If you want to have a fun mountain experience then let me assure you, Mountain Man Dogsled Adventures is the perfect place to have it! It was safe, exciting and ideal for anyone. Words don’t really do the experience justice.
I especially want to thank Colin from Tourism Sun Peaks, who is my very good friend and treated me to this unique adventure. I was grateful to have this experience — He might think this is repayment for all the times I’ve helped him with his personal computer, but this opportunity can’t be repaid. I hope he knows how generous this was.