Mush fun: Traditional dog sledding offered at Asessippi this winter
Winnipeggers and Brandonites will soon get a chance to experience a thrill mainly available up north.
Métis musher Gerald Azure and his wife, Jenafor Azure, will start offering traditional sled dog rides in December at Asessippi Ski Area and Resort, 160 kilometres northwest of Brandon, Man.
They plan to bring 29 sled dogs from Churchill, Man., this fall. Preparations are already underway to house the dogs at the ski resort. Trails alongside the Assiniboine River are also under construction.
"It's going to be quite an adventure," Jenafor Azure said.
Gerald Azure will be the main musher. He was born in northern Manitoba and is co-founder of the Hudson Bay Quest, a dog sled race between Churchill and Arviat, Nunavut.
Azure has been operating his dog sledding business in Churchill for nearly 15 years. Conditions for the tours are best during the cold winter months, when both train and plane fares to Churchill are highest.
"What we're finding is the cost of people to travel to Churchill during those months are … prohibitive for the average Canadian family," said Jenafor Azure.
Their partnership with Asessippi will create a cheaper option for southerners who want to experience a dog sled ride.
"We are thrilled they invited us down to work with them so people will have better access to dog sledding with Gerald," Azure said.
Rides are expected to start around Christmas, after the first snowfall. Rates are $65 for adults and $45 for children and youth, plus taxes. The dogsled trail is 3.2 kilometres long. There is room for two people per ride, plus the musher.