Whistler during Spring Break is the place to be and over the next few days Pique will provide details of Whistler's most popular spring time activities. Every day a new activity will be profiled and in this report we feature sled dog tours
The adventure starts with a tense secretive buzz. The sled dog company staff members are clearly up to something, there's something going on that isn't supposed to be common knowledge and it's clear that there is a happy vibe attached to it.
After the safety briefing I help my guide, Sam, hitch the dog team to the sled. My help is less-than effective but it is fun to be part of the action on a cold day like this one.
We got well ahead of the rest of the people on the tour because Sam was the first guide to arrive to work so he put together a team of hard working dogs that he knew would be fast.
"There's going to be a marriage proposal today," Sam tells me with a sentimental glint in his eyes and a proud smile on his face.
He informs me they often get young couples planning to be engaged while on a tour. The staff helps to set the scene for the big question. There's a special romantic spot on the dog sled trip, a place where the sled can be pulled over so the lovers can walk down to the river's edge for a little privacy in a beautiful setting surrounded by tall lichen covered trees. The staff calls it Lovers Point, an area where the Soo River moves at a very slow and gentle pace beside the dog sled trail.
Sam tells me the early fuss was all about making sure everything was in place for the young lovers.
With our team well out in front and setting a blistering pace, I can tell Sam is very pleased with the performance of all the members of our team, with the exception of one. Vixen, one of the two wheel dogs closest to the sled, isn't pulling hard. It is painfully evident by the fact that the leash is almost always loose.
Each of these dogs has their role to play. The two at the back do most of the heavy pulling so they are big and strong and the two at the front are small and sleek with amazing focus.
"You don't want lead dogs that get easily distracted," says Sam. "If a squirrel runs across the track you don't want one of the lead dogs chasing after it off the trail."
That may seem funny but it can happen.
The trip is an out and back ride so once we get to the farthest point of the trip we hang out for a few minutes waiting for the slow pokes to catch up. The other dog teams aren't necessarily slow. Sam and I just happen to be riding with a lightening fast team of six pullers on this day.
Once the rest of the people on the tour catch up, we hop back onto the sled for the return trip and the team rips up the snow trail at a pace that seems even faster than the first leg.
Sam and I pull back into the staging area and start taking the harnesses off the dogs anticipating the arrival of the young lovers.
Would she say yes? Of course she would. How could she say anything but yes in a snowy river bank setting with mostly blue sky above on a crisp Whistler day with the thermometer dipped a little below zero?
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that as the final sled pulls in the answer was yes. She and he wear revealing smiles and rosy cheeks.
For Sam and the rest of the staff it is another successful, romance-filled day with the dogs.