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Is the Glacier Dogsledding in Girdwood Worth It?

Is the Glacier Dogsledding in Girdwood Worth It?

Jan 9th, 2009, 05:55 AM
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Is the Glacier Dogsledding in Girdwood Worth It?

Spirobulldog, if you're out there, I know you've done this (I've picked your brain before about Utah!) Anyway, we plan to drive down to Girdwood especially to do tours with Alpine Air Alaska... I fell in love with helicopter tours while in Australia, and really want to do a 1-hour helicopter flightseeing tour in Girdwood of the glaciers. The dogsledding on the glacier also looks fun, but since it's expensive, I want to be sure it's worth doing. It seems like it'd be a great experience, but I thought I'd ask those of you who have done it... do you recommend it?
CarolM is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 08:05 AM
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If you like dogs, dog sledding is a lot of fun. According to my 13yo, it was the highlight of our Alaska trip. It's just not something we can do here in Atlanta.
padams421 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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I went on the dog sledding on a glacier trip (not in Girdwood) only because our friends run this business. We spent four hours and had lots of fun but I concluded if I had to pay a full price for only one hour no way I would do it because it is too short fun for too much money. I understand transportation, dogs, guides cost but still paying this much for only 1 hour? I don't think so. Disclaimer; this is my personal opinion
NewPlaces is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 01:00 PM
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Hi Carol,

Yes, we really enjoyed it. The helicopter pad/runway is about a 5 minutes away from Alyeska Resort. You do get a fantastic view from the helicopter on the ride to the glacier. Although, it is a short 7 or 8 minute ride. The helicopter seats 3 plus the pilot. Once landing on the glacier we talked with Dario (he owns some of the dogs, a lot of the dogs he just keeps in shape over the summer for other kennels). While talking to him we visited some of the dogs and played with a couple of puppies. There is about 70 dogs there. I must say he keeps the place unbelievably clean. There wasn't any dog poop in the snow. The dogs all start barking when we started getting them over to the sled and harnassing them. They get really wild until he tells them to go, then it is totally silent. He drives the sled and two people can ride. One person sits and one person stands. We took turns and rode just a short distance around the glacier 2 or 3 times. This allowed one of us to take pictures. Dario lives on this glacier without any electric or tv for 3 months every summer. You can see him on the travel channel on the wierd food segment. He hasn't run the idatarod for the past 3 or 4 years, but he has been in it several times. He has never won. I believe his best finish was 5th, but just finishing is an accomplishment. About half of the dogs he has will run in it though. These look like half mutts, and half husky. We own American Bulldogs, which is totally different(ours catch wild hogs and can be trained to catch a cow), but we can appreciate a true working dog. Most true working dogs aren't AKC registered. So we were very much interested in the dogs.

Everything is hauled in and out via helicopter. This means, dogs, food, portapotty, tents, dog poop, everything. Dario said he hikes to town a couple of times over the summer.

Highlights of our Alaska trip were Salmon/flyout/bearviewing(flying from Soldotna over to Cook Inlet near Lake Clark), Train from Seward to Anchorage, Kayaking in Seward, Glacier hike from Alyeska, and Dog Sledding. This was a very expensive trip, but we did enjoy it. The scenary just never stops. I haven't been to Hawaii, but Alaska is the prettiest place we have ever been. the kayaking and glacier hiking wasn't too bad on the wallet. Glacier hiking was probably our least favorite thing we did. if you look at the pics, the kayaking is at 10:30PM and the sun is still very bright.

Dario is really happy to see someone,as one can only imagine what it must be like to live with 70 dogs and see probably only a few people each week. They supply everything you will need, coats, pants, boots. You will smell like a wet dog when you return, the coats all smell that way. The entire tour takes about 3 hours. the sledding is probably only 30 minutes or so, but the whole experience is fantastic.


click on above link and "view all" then "alaska", there is a lot of the dogsled photos on there.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 03:04 PM
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Thanks everyone for your input so far! Spirobulldog, thanks for the details and for the pictures link -- you took great pictures!

I will definitely be doing the 1-hour helicopter tour with a glacier landing in Girdwood, so I'll have that experience either way. I was trying to figure out if I wanted to also do the dogsledding, which is a considerable extra expense. It sounds like you're a big "dog person" -- I like dogs ok, but I have cats

I guess my main interest in this was to have that unique "iconic" only-in-Alaska experience, but for so much additional money, I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it. Is it an exciting ride? Do you go fast? Normally I'd say "what the heck," and not hesitate, but for $430 per person, I'm hesitating...
CarolM is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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If you sit, it is somewhat bumpy and seems faster, but standing up seems not as fast, but not slow either. The dogs run fast, but pulling through the snow slows things down a lot. Consider that they keep this pace for mile upon mile when they are racing. It is exciting, but not the same as say ziplinning or a rappel(i noticed that you have done this type of stuff from your posts-- we have as well). More of a calm excitement than danger excitement. Its just different. But, how often can you dogsled, muchless with real iditarod dogs. There is another company in Seward that you can sleep on the glacier with the dogs and sled ride. I don't know anything about that one, but it looks interesting. I hate to try to talk you into it when it is a lot of money. It may be that the dogsled aspect of it, may not be the best idea for your bunch. Everything that is unique is expensive in Alaska. The fact that you need to fly to get to most of the stuff is where a lot of the expense lies. I would like to do the airplane landing on Denali. Have you looked into that?
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 04:15 PM
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Hey Spirobulldog... I appreciate your comments, thanks. I guess it's a tough call. I'm inclined to do it, just to do it -- to have a unique experience. I just really want it to be fun for that much money! I'm going with my mom who's 70, but in fantastic shape (she still scuba dives). But not being "dog people," I hope we still enjoy it. Either that or my mom will be mad at me about smelling like dog all day!

If I don't go, at least I will still do the helicopter ride with the glacier landing (in fact, if I don't do the dogsledding, I'd probably do the 90-minute helicopter flight).

I did not consider a fixed-wing flight in Denali 'cause I totally get airsick in small planes. I do much better in helicopters (less turbulence). That's why I'm going out of my way to go to Girdwood 'cause Alpine Air Alaska offers the best range of helicopter flightseeing (from what I've researched). Then the following day we're doing a full-day cruise on Prince William Sound -- hopefully see some glaciers calving (when they break off), hopefully orcas, etc.

I'd love to fly out to see bears, but that's just too much money for this trip. Hopefully we'll see some bears in Denali (doing the 7-8 hour tour into the park) and then we'll do a 4-hour river float tour out of Talkeetna, which they say goes into a pretty remote area of Denali.

By the way Spiro, I never made it to do the Desert Highlights tour in Utah... my travel partner got lyme disease and we canceled the trip. I'm hoping to try again this year! (Quick weekend or something.) What recession??? Ha!

CarolM is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 04:18 PM
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If any one in your group has back problems, dog sledding will be the end of the vacation. It is rough and doesn't feel good going over bumpy terrain. I can appreciate this seems very exciting and perhaps romantic for a tourist, but I do not think you will meet many Alaskan's paying that kind of money for wind burn and back ache. If your back is healthy and realism doesnt dampen your enthusiasm, you probably will enjoy the experience.
grapes is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 04:29 PM
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Deserthighlights is still in Utah, but they now have just a few trips in oregon, rappelling from waterfalls. We hope to do that in July with them. It isn't on his website yet.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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Wow, grapes put a damper on that one right away... I do try to watch my back (occasional problems) but no slipped disk or anything. Spiro, is it rough out on the glacier where you went?

CarolM is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 06:01 PM
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There is an annual dogsledding in Laconia, NH. We hang out at the starting point where you can watch all the dogs get lined up with their harness. The dogs are very cute and fairly small, but boy can they pull that sled.

This event is nice because you can get upclose and personal with the mushers and the dogs.
Jaya is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 06:33 PM
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no, I do remember it being bumpier sitting than when standing.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 10:09 PM
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Sorry CarolM. It wasn't intended to be a downer just the facts. If you have enough enthusiasm for it, a dose of reality won't deter you. Wether you do this or not, you will have a great trip and memories to last a life time.
grapes is offline  
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