We are always getting asked about activities for non-skiiers so we wanted to give husky dog sledding a go to see whether it was worth recommending to the guests of our Morzine chalets. We went in mid-April, when there was still an amazing amount of snow, and it got a big thumbs up. Here’s why….
We arrived at the Col de Joux Verte just below Avoriaz, a 25-min drive from our chalets in Morzine, to see 45 gorgeous husky dogs all patiently lying in the snow awaiting their drivers for the day. After being introduced to our guides, our first task was to put harnesses on each one and get to know the dogs which involves plenty of stroking and hugging. The huskies are really friendly towards people, although they can be a bit aggressive towards each other at times. All of them are rescue dogs who are then homed and trained by Jean-Jacques Bechet – they seem to be well treated and content in their lives which reassured us.
Each person drives their own sled pulled by 3 or 4 huskies depending how big the driver is. Once we had met our dogs, we then received instructions on how to drive the sleds, i.e. how to steer and brake etc… before putting it into practice on the first bend of the route. We were a group of 11 (which is the maximum size group) and the first couple of people fell off their sled on the first bend but the rest of us managed to learn from their mistakes and stay upright. Over the course of the morning, most people fell off at one point or another. None of them were particularly bad falls as you can see the fall coming and you have a chance to cushion your fall on your side. In fact, one of our group was pregnant and she fell off a couple of times but was never concerned about her safety.
The route starts by going downhill to start with which is a lot of fun and, as people get comfortable driving the sleds, you then start to take on more technical sections through the trees which involves a bit of ducking and diving to avoid branches. By the time we got to the lowest point of the course, we were all fairly exhilarated and beaming from ear to ear.
Unfortunately, in this case, what goes down must come back up!
At it was mid-April and the sun was out, the snow was quite heavy by the time we turned round to go back up and the huskies found the going fairly hard getting back up hill. We found we had to spend much of the ascent walking next to the sled, rather than riding on it, to lighten the load for the huskies. The total vertical ascent is around 250m so we were all fairly tired by the time we got back to the top.
But it didn’t dampen the spirits and everyone was really pleased to have done it.
Verdict: As long as you prepared to sweat a bit to get back up hill, you will have a great day out!
Top tips: Wear waterproof shoes, sunscreen & a couple of layers so that you can adjust to the conditions
- Call Jean-Jacques Bechet on +33 (0) 6 80 93 26 20 to book
- Website: http://laventureentraineau.com/
- Time slots are 10.00-12.30 or 14.00-16.30
- Cost – €95 per adult & €45 per child – but it is worth trying to negotiate a better price for bigger groups or non-peak season bookings