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Feed your soul with REAL fun

Canned vacations are like canned food -- uninspiring. You deserve an authentic experience. Ski trips are common as clover, but there's only one dogsled vacation package -- at Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge. Refresh, relax, rejuvinate in the sparkling snowscape of our northwoods winter. Enjoy our fun-loving guides, sumptuous meals, lovely lodging and our furry 4-legged friends. We'll keep you warm, cozy & smiling!

FLASH NEWS: Mar 7-11 -- our last remaining trip openings for this season.  Call us now 877-753-3386

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For over 35 years! ...we've offered these dogsled options:

Lodge-based Trips Camping Trips Arctic Trips Photo Trip View All Trips Day Trips

Which to choose?  Start by considering our most popular option, which is outlined below:

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Deluxe 4-Night Dogsled Vacation Package

  • Offered each Wednesday to Sunday, December through March
  • Best suited for couples or pairs, open to complete beginners
  • Features 3 days of guided "Mush Your Own Team" dogsledding fun
  • Includes all meals, lodging, guides, dogteams, gear -- everything!

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And There's More....

Your itinerary includes a visit to Ely's famous International Wolf Center, a chance to try some skiing, snowshoeing & our Finnish wood-fired sauna, northwoods stories around the fireplace and, with a little luck, the magical dancing Northern Lights in our stunning night sky.

But our beloved dogs are sure to steal the show. They're friendly, handsome, love to be petted and love to pull.

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A Global Top Spot
& Easy to Access

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National Geographic ranks our northwoods among the world's most beautiful places. You'll have no trouble getting here. Flights from anywhere connect through Minneapolis or Chicago to Duluth or Hibbing airports. The Ely Shuttle van will bring you to our lodge (or car rentals are cheap & driving is no problem!)

You'll have no trouble preparing for your trip. Our own Wintergreen Northern Wear "Made-in-Ely" clothing line offers rental parkas, snow pants & warm boots in all sizes.

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beginningcamping.jpgBeginning Dogsled Trips

Suited for novices, these 5-night trips feature full training & outfitting, 4 days/3 nights of dogsled camping plus 2 nights (first and last) in lodges, no gear needed, For all ages, great family fun, rental clothing & boots in all sizes, cozy warm tents & sleepsystems, campfire commaraderie

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advancedcamping.jpgAdvanced Dogsled Trips

On these 6-night adventures you'll enjoy 5 days/4 nights dogsled & ski camping along historic & scenic routes deep in the border wilderness. Enjoy dogsledding, skiing & snowshoeing on these expedition-style treks often led by Wintergreen director Paul Schurke to his favorite places.

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arctictrips.jpgArctic Adventures

Join Paul & Susan Schurke each spring to dogsled Arctic Norway's spectacular Svalbard Island or dogsled with their Polar Eskimos colleagues across northwestern Greenland or along Hudson Bay's Polar Bear National Park.  "Arctic trips of a lifetime," says National Geographic

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Dressing for Dogsledding is Easy!

We’ll be sure you’re warm & cozy on your Wintergreen trip.  You’ll come away not just with a great dogsledding experience, but also with greater comfort & confidence in winter recreation as a lifelong endeavor.  Welcome to a whole new season of fun!

We’ll help you gather what you need.  The basics:

--Long johns top & bottom (synthetic, not cotton)

--A couple sweater tops &/or down vest

--Insulated jacket (or shell + fleece anorak)

--Insulated pants (or shell + fleece pants)

--A couple warm hats & neck band

--Thin (liner) gloves & insulated mittens

--Thin (liner) & thick socks (a couple pair)

--Insulated boots (with removable liners for drying)
 

You may already have many of these items. Our Wintergreen Northern Wear store will help you with items you don't have. Small items like long underwear & mitts are available for discount purchase. Big items like parkas, snow pants, and snow boots are available for rent. 

The "Trip Kit Packet" you'll receive in the postal mail includes a "Dressing for Dogsledding" checklist outlining items that work & don't work.  It also includes your Wintergreen clothing rental & discount purchase form. Preview it online here: Wintergreen Clothing Form

In the meantime, we recommend you visit our store's thorough online primer on cold weather clothing.  You’ll get full illustrated details and you’ll learn about the "3 W's" of winter comfort: Wicking, Warmth & Wind layers here: Wintergreen Gear Guide

Want to make this even easier? Just call our store toll-free 844-359-6233 and they'll be happy to guide you as you gather what you need.  When you arrive in Ely for your dogsled trip, they'll outfit you with items you need to rent or purchase. Then at your lodge, your guides will review your gear once again to ensure you've got exactly what you need to have a great time.


Wintergreen: The Winter Comfort Experts For 30 Years!

cmp240lk.jpg      "I tried to wait for the ‘high’ from our Wintergreen camping trip to wear off before writing this but it is simply not going away!  When I asked my husband for a dogsledding trip, I was thinking that we would have fine dinners and hang by a fireplace.  Well, we did – each night by our campfire!  I also thought that I would be cozy at night and wake up in leisurely fashion. Well, I did – each morning at a gorgeous campsite! I pictured romance and excitement and this camping trip delivered all that and much more! It was gift I will never forget!"  Julie M., SD   

Our 5-night "Wintergreen Classics" includes complete training and gear outfitting, 1st & last nights in lodges, 4 days/3 nights of guided wilderness travel & winter camping, generally 6 participants with 2 guides per group

On these entry-level winter skills programs, you'll enjoy your first evening & morning at the lodge receiving hands-on training in winter camping and travel skills, including dog care & harnessing, dogsledding, back-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter ecology, and cold weather comfort and safety. Then you'll embark on a 4-day, 3-night guided wilderness dogsled trek.

You'll travel by dogteam each day (with skiing & snowshoeing as optional campsite activities) and enjoy campfire chats with your guides and group each evening. You'll camp in our Himalayan Hotel sleeping tents (or try an "igloo"!), Siberian Chalet cooking tent, and our cozy Antarctic sleeping bags and strata-rest pads ("a toasty sleep at any temp!") We'll celebrate the trip with a festive final evening back at the lodge.

No experience or gear needed. Lots of learning & lots of fun! A "hands-on" experience during which you'll have a chance to try it all: harnessing & driving dogteams, setting camp, fire building, outdoor cookery, building snow shelters and more.  Open to anyone in good fitness (singles, pairs, groups), including families with kids 8 and older.  Rental clothing and boots available. These are the trips that launched Wintergreen back in 1987 and they've remained a favorite of guests and staff alike ever since.


Participant Profile:

Last year, half of these trips were booked by families, schools or clubs for their own private trip. Of the other guests, half were couples, 20% were pairs of friends or family members and 10% were singles. Ages ranged 8-76. About 20% had dogsledded before (generally on our lodge-to-lodge trips), about half had never been camping before (summer or winter) and a few had never been in snow before!


Group & Guides:

Each of our "Classics" is facilitated by 2 Wintergreen guides  plus support staff . Each trip accommodates one or two groups of 6 persons each. If there are two groups, training sessions are presented jointly at the lodge but on the trail the groups and their guides travel and camp separately. Generally, three freight sleds are provided for each group of 6.  These large sleds each accommodate two drivers, who stand side-by-side on the back of the sled. Participants drive the sleds while the guides ski along nearby to assist as needed.


Sample Itinerary (may vary with trip dates)

DAY 1: Arrive in Ely mid to late afternoon by car or airport taxi shuttle. Stop at rental store for any rental clothing needs, continue to lodge for check-in and site tour. Meet your guides & dogs. Welcoming dinner at 6 pm followed by clothing check, equipment outfitting & trip orientation session. Topics include winter dress & layering systems, cold weather safety, nutrition & hydration, winter sleeping systems and comfort tips.

DAY 2: Kennel care. Breakfast. Full-group seminar on sledding, dog handling & harnessing. Then small group hands-on field rotations involving instruction and practice in back-country winter travel and camping skills. Extended lunch break/skills review in lodge. The big moment arrives: Load sleds and launch the dogteams! Dogsled till late afternoon and select a campsite. Learn how to set up camp. Gather firewood, feed & water dogs. Campfire dinner, evening stories and skills review. Enjoy the night sky and watch for northern lights. Sleep in tents. Bid the dogs goodnight as they bed down nearby.

DAY 3: Dog care & feeding. Campfire coffee & breakfast. Discuss route plan and learn about minimum impact practices. Safety review. Break camp. Load sleds and launch. Midday trailside lunch. Travel by dogteam till mid-afternoon with various stops for snacks/beverage, photos, skills tips and winter ecology info. Set camp at a scenic site. Dinner. Campfire stories and info about winter ecology, northwoods wildlife and native American lore.

DAY 4: Dog care. Campfire coffee & breakfast. Discuss route plan. Decide upon "circle route" or "base camp" option. If "circle route" option, then break camp, travel till mid-afternoon. Set camp early to allow time for snow shelter construction, skiing, snowshoeing and 'ski-jouring' excursions or other optional activities. Dinner & campfire stories. If "base camp" option, leave tents & camp set up to allow for a full of day of optional activities listed above as well as half-day dogsled excursion with empty sleds. Dinner & campfire stories. Sleep in tents or try snow shelters.

DAY 5: Dog care. Campfire coffee & breakfast. Break camp, load & launch to sled back towards the lodge. Arrive mid-afternoon. Treat & water your dogs. Snack break, showers and/or Finnish-style sauna (with optional roll in the snow or dip through the ice hole!) Celebration dinner. Optional evening activities: van shuttle to Ely's International Wolf Center for their Saturday evening "What's for Dinner?" program to observe the wolves feeding OR on some trips Arctic adventure stories with Wintergreen director Paul Schurke.

DAY 6: Optional kennel care. "Bon voyage" breakfast buffet. Trip de-brief chat and "Mushers Graduation" event, kennel visit to bid your dogs adieu. Check-out mid to late morning (or earlier if your travel plans require). If you weren't able to visit Ely's International Wolf Center (www.wolf.org) or North American Bear Center (www.bear.org)  during their winter hours (Fri/Sat 10-5) before your dogsled trip, we can sometimes arrange a special visit to the wolf viewing area or bear exhibits on your check-out day.

Wintergreen provides:

  • Freight sleds & dogteams
  • North Face Himalayan Hotel or other dome sleeping tents (for 1-3 people each)
  • Siberian Chalet cook tent (for entire group to gather in heated comfort if needed for meals & chats)
  • Coleman stoves, cook kit, misc. camp gear, Thermoses and water bottles
  • Wiggys Antarctic sleeping bags
  • RidgeRest foam camping mattresses
  • Inner Thermax sleeping bag liner and outer Ultrex "bivvy sack" bag cover
  • Back-country metal-edged skis with Berwyn bindings and poles (for your optional use around camp if you choose)
  • Sherpa snowshoes (optional)
  • Sled bags for packing personal gear
  • Cell phone, map kit, trail radios, first aid gear

Your personal gear needs (detailed checklist will be provided upon registration):

  • Winter boots with removable liner (available for rent at Wintergreen)
  • Snow pants & hooded shell jacket (available for rent or discount purchase at Wintergreen)
  • Insulating pants & tops (available for rent or discount purchase at Wintergreen)
  • Long johns, mittens, hat, socks (available for discount purchase at Wintergreen)
  • Headlamp, toiletries, journal, camera, daypack or fanny pack, etc.

Sample Trail Menu

Campfire Breakfast: Red River porridge or rice pudding and/or eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, cinnamon pitas, fruit roll-ups, hot beverages (including gourmet coffee!)

Trail Lunch: Cup o' soup, pocket bread sandwiches, sausage stix, string cheese, energy bars, dry fruit, candies & chocolates, nuts and various kinds of trail mix 

Dinners: Our guides take great pride in their campfire dinners with such menus as cheese quesadillas, beef fajitas, sweet-sour chicken stir fry; linguini & Swedish meatballs; Oriental veggies & rice with sautéed shrimp; pan pizzas, Dutch-oven cakes & fresh baked breads, "secret desserts" (an optional Wintergreen tradition in which participants are invited to bring a treat to share) 

NOTE: We happily accommodate vegetarian, vegan and or other dietary preferences

About Our Advanced Trips:

Compared with our beginning trips, these highly adventurous treks involve dogsledding, skiing, snowshoeing greater distances and deeper into the wilderness, often to reach the northwood's top scenic & historic sites. Open to adults & teens in good fitness who are ready for a physical challenge in a remote winter setting. Previous camping experience (summer or winter) and familiarity with skiing is helpful but not essential: the skills you'll use on these trips are gained largely along the trail, rather than through the instruction and training sessions offered on our beginning trips.

During the first evening's orientation at the lodge, the guides will organize your group as a team so that when the trek is launched the next morning, everyone is prepared to learn and assist with camp and trail duties. Each group of 6-7 participants (plus 2 guides) has 2 freight sleds driven by 2 persons each. This means that 4 participants are mushing at any given time while others in rotation are following along on skis or snowshoes. But since these trips take you far off the beaten path across unbroken snowscapes, the travel pace is very moderate (like a brisk walking pace). No technical skiing skills are required.

Since we are not on groomed trails, trail conditions vary with each trip and thus our daily travel distances and destinations are unpredictable -- it may be slow going in deep snow and slush, or we may find wind-packed crust and fast travel. 

Technical skiing skills are not needed but you do need to be reasonably fit and willing to give skiing a try. These trips are grand adventures, sometimes challenging, always rewarding and led by our most senior guides or by Wintergreen director & arctic explorer Paul Schurke. Some participants on these trips are returning Wintergreen "alumni" but new-comers with good fitness and previous outdoor experience are welcome.


January 2018 "Heart of the Winter Wilderness" Trip 

pm Mon. Jan 22 - am Sun. Jan 28,  $1,475 ($100 off for Wintergreen "alumni")  6 nights total, 4 nights/5 days on trail covering 30 miles, 1st and last night in lodges. Led by Wintergreen director Paul Schurke (his favorite route!) FULL

Enjoy the scenic highlights of the Boundary Waters’ spectacular border route in their winter splendor, including Curtain Falls, the Beartrap River, Table Rock, the Indian pictographs of Sunday Bay, the old airplane &WWII "weasel" in the woods, Warrior Hill and the spectacular Painted Cliffs of Lac La Croix.

Visiting this sacred pocket of wilderness at the height of winter is an annual pilgrimage for us. If you want 'real' winter, this is your trip - January means short days, deep snow, brisk temps & generally clear skies (more chance to enjoy stars & northern lights).  And you don't want to miss our annual boot hockey or curling match on "Howlin" Wolf bay!  


Our "Director's Choice" Tutorial Trips

Wintergreen director Paul Schurke leads these special advanced dogsled & ski camping adventures on routes of his choice. Pending snow & ice conditions, it might be the Lac La Croix area (with a visit to the Ojibway village) or the scenic Crooked Lake chain (with some fishing fun), the Kekekabic-Knife Lake heart of the BWCA loop,  or possibly even the Rose-Mountain-Moose Chain leading to the Grand Portage Trail on the Boundary Waters' eastern edge. He'll make the route choice by mid-season. But whichever he chooses, you can be sure this trip will be great fun & grand adventure with an added educational edge:

As our "alumni" know, we've garnered a lot of info over the years about the northwoods and the world of winter that we share on our trips but most of it gets shared very informally and casually. On these special trips, Paul will take a more purposeful tack and prompt campfire chats each morning and/or evening on a variety of topics: cold weather physiology, winter ecology, navigation skills, winter meteorology & climate change, the winter sky. And while we'll be traveling by dogsled & ski each day, we'll also take time on most afternoons for a field trip or workshop to apply this information -- perhaps a snowshoe orienteering course, a flora identification hike, constructing snow shelters or nighttime dogsledding with the stars of Orion as our guide. We'll enjoy a grand adventure together with instruction, discussion & learning-by-doing as the added bonus along the way.


February 2018 "Director's Choice" Trip   FULL

pm Mon. Feb 19 - am Sun. Feb 25  $1,475 ($100 off for Wintergreen "alumni") , 6 nights total, 4 nights/5 days on the trail covering 40 miles, 1st and last night in lodges. Led by Wintergreen director Paul Schurke -- on a select route of his "choice" pending trail conditions.

Most years, late February still has a "heart of winter" feel to it with crisp temps and snow drifts on the trees and trails that remains powdery. A daytime thaw is possible but generally travel temps are in the 20s and nights are around 0.


March 2018 "Director's Choice" Trip  OPEN

pm Mon. Mar 5 - am Sun. Mar 11  $1,475 ($100 off for Wintergreen "alumni"), 6 nights total, 4 nights/5 days on the trail covering 50 miles or so, 1st and last night in lodges. Led by Wintergreen director Paul Schurke -- on a select route of his "choice" pending trail conditions.

By mid-March days are noticeably longer and temps are moderate with occasional daytime thaws. The crusted snow can mean easier travel allowing us to cover a lot of country with less effort, especially on the big lake chains.

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"a Top 10 small outdoor business"

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"a Top 6 U.S. adventure lodge"

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"The perfect dogsled destination"

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"Best in the business"

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"A Top 10 Minnesota lodge"

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"A Top 10 adventure bargain"

Wintergreen supports preserving wildlands & enabling disadvantaged people to enjoy nature with two non-profits we helped found: SaveTheBoundaryWaters.org

Happy TrailsHappy Trails!

Ready to enjoy what our guests tell us is their "best vacation ever"? Call us anytime toll-free: 877-753-3386 (877 Sled Fun). If Yukon answers, tell him you're looking for one of our 2- legged staff. We hope to share a Wintergreen experience with you!

 

Contact us anytime, we’re happy to answer all your questions!

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