EPIC to attend Montana Dog Sledding Sessions

Base Camp Bigfork is an outdoor adventure guide, and home to a team of Inuit sled dogs—a rare aboriginal American breed—that have been working alongside humans for over a thousand years. This winter, EWU students will be stepping onto the sled with EPIC Adventures.

Sled dogs were originally used as transportation. They are now used for racing because they can run up to 20 miles per hour and travel hundreds of miles in several days.

Base Camp Bigfork’s team of sled dogs will take students through the trails of Bigfork, Montana.

“They took you on a dogsled, and the guy was skiing right next to you,” said EWU junior Monika Mack, who attended the trip last year. “He was leading the dogs and you got to mush yourself. I think that the coolest part was you just got thrown into it.”

“They do it all around their acreage, and there’s like 20 plus paths you can go through,” said Mack. “There are 12 participants and a couple trip leaders so it’s really nice–small and intimate. You get a lot of time with the dogs and the trainers.”

Inuit sled dogs behave in a pack hierarchy like wolves, which determines who is leading the sled.

“They truly don’t train them as house dogs, they really are wild dogs,” said Mack. “They have a huge fenced area where they live out in the open.”

EPIC Director of Operations Leah Hilbrand started the trips to Base Camp Bigfork six years ago.

“In the winter time, we weren’t doing much different than ski and snowboard trips,” said Hilbrand. “So I [researched it] and found dogsledding in Montana. This year we are having six dog sledding trips, it keeps growing and growing […] It’s one of the favorite trips of students so we want to make sure we give them a good experience and give them what they want to do.”

Students will also be cross-country skiing while in Bigfork, and participating in other outdoor activities.

The programs are scheduled for Jan. 26-28, Feb. 2-4, Feb. 9-11 and Feb. 23-25. The price of attending is $190. Contact EWU EPIC Adventures for more information.

By Taylor Newquist, The Easterner – Contributor
January 17, 2018
Filed under Sports