Expanding my dogsledding trip crew

If you’ve been reading my blog, then surely you know that…

  1. I discovered dogsledding while attempting to avoid visiting a friends town and enlisted him to join the adventure
  2. I analyzed and organized where and when we should go dogsledding

This is the next chapter.

Most of the time when I plan a trip, I know exactly who is going.  I know that it’s my wife and I OR I know that it is one friend or set of friends going on the trip OR rarely these days, it’s just me.  Planning dogsledding was no different.  I knew who I wanted to go with, my one friend.

Surprises that change your travel plans are expected

But surprises are always welcome.  When speaking with travelers it’s not surprising when you learn about something new and interesting that you never heard of before. Something that can change your plans for the better. In case you are unaware dogsledding is not a very popular activity, Thinking about it most often draws images of being very cold, spending time in the outdoors under grey skies and of course there is the fact that you’re going there by choice instead of a warm spot in the middle of the winter.

Don’t worry.  My plans haven’t changed, but apparently there is a lot of interest in going dogsledding when you start telling people that you’re going to do it.

Where are you going next? Dog Sledding

I was invited to the birthday dinner of my brother in law (my wife’s brother).  There was a group of people there who I have become familiar with and they know that my wife and I are the most adventurous travelers of the group.  

So the topic of where I am going next came up and I mentioned that I was looking to go dogsledding in the frigid north with a friend.  What happened next I found interesting.  Some of them simply shrugged their shoulders and most likely thought that it was just the next crazy adventure that I was going on, which I expected but I saw a spark.  In fact I saw 2 sparks. Two of them suddenly looked directly into my eyes with that inner curiosity and focus that can say one of two things.  I knew before they opened their mouths that either they were epically concerned for me OR they were interested in going.

Discussing Dog Sledding with interested parties

The next line of questioning is portioned out into what I would call, analyzing their possibilities.  

“Where do you go to do that, Alaska, Norway?!”

Good news! They weren’t going to try to convince me not to go.  This question was to see if they could immediately disqualify the trip from their minds.  I decided to elaborate.

“Well, I found the location that worked best for the experience I was looking for, which was a common indoor place to sleep at night with an indoor bathroom with at least 2 full days of dog sledding, was in the snow belt of Minnesota”

By elaborating in this way I covered where I was going, how long I was going for and the fact that yes I will be staying indoors alongside a friendly western style bathroom.  Hopefully eliminating their more pressing questions.

Next question, “I bet you need to buy a ton of warm things to wear, right?”

“No, they rent the warmest clothes to you when you first get there so you get the right clothes to go out in along with gloves, hats, jackets and whatever else”

This squashed the idea that it would be unaffordable to get the gear to go on the trip.  I already covered the fact that it was in our local United States, it lasts about 2-4 days, it has indoor sleeping quarters and bathrooms and there was no need to purchase pricey clothes.

Their eyes lit up even more.  

“What made you decide to do this?”

“There are certain things I want to do before I get too old to do them.  Dog sledding is certainly one of those things.  Besides, it’s part of my long bucket list.  How bad can it be? And even if it’s bad, hell I want to do it!  Worst case scenario, I get to play with dogs, I get to drink hot chocolate spiked with brandy, and I get to go dog sledding.”

Considering Adding People to a Trip

After a little more discussion they seemed like they wanted to go.  Which actually puts me in a new interesting position.  

  1. My friend and I wanted to go and we will still room together.  
  2. My friend does not know them and vice versa.  Will they get along?
  3. My friend and I were looking to go to the 6 person dog sledding experience which was one up in terms of price and amenities from the max 8 person dog sledding experience.
  4. However, now that I potentially have a total of 4 people that want to go, with possibly 2 more partners alongside them, there is a possibility to upgrade to a private experience.

The 4 person private dog sledding upgrade costs about $250 more per person on top of the current price.  If we get 6, we can stick with the 6 person trip and make it a private experience but if we had any more than 6 the options lose out on an indoor bathroom so 6 or less is where the sweet spot is,

Considering the Options of Adding People to the Dog Sledding Trip

So now I have 2 more people interested in going. From my perspective I give them each a 40% shot of actually going dog sledding with my friend and I. People usually want to do things, but once you get into the details of how to do them or what it fully entails or how much it costs I find that they can change their minds. You must always go into these conversations assuming they will not go but offering the opportunity for them to join if they really want to.

If I determine that they are truly interested I can make better decisions for the group. The key was to share the trip details with them when I get home along with the dates that we’re looking to go and offer to add them to the trip. That will define how serious they are about joining.

If we actually get 4 person upgrade, it provides us with our own full cabin for the 4 of us. Indoor bathrooms, custom itinerary with a private guide.  There is a certain similarity to the other trips but this would be the coolest configuration possible for us and there might be one person in the group who has some extra cash, who may be willing to cover the additional cost for the entire group.

But again.  The thought of them coming with me is great.  But I still need to encourage and gauge their interest and the possibility of them going on this trip.  Then I need to get an agreement from my core trip friend to make sure that they are ok with it. Sometimes trips are better with more people, and sometimes not. Since we will be trapped in the frigid north with nothing but each other and a bunch of dogs, I’m hoping for the best.