We answered the call of the wild and tried out a dog-sled excursion in Crévoux, a ski resort we adore for its village atmosphere, friendliness, and authenticity.
An arrival in the snow
First Impressions and a Change of Programme
Our rendezvous was scheduled for 9 a.m. on site. We arrived a bit late, after a beautiful, and exhausting, ten-minute walk in the fresh snow. From afar, we spotted the dogs – all attached except for one. This was Peuf, a little husky that was too young to be part of the team. She ran over to greet us and, when she got to our feet, demanded we pet her. Even a tough guy would have cracked. Then, we said hello to Morgan, a passionate musher from Blois who immediately made us welcome. He explained to us that the snow had been falling continuously since the day before, so he had changed the programme a bit. Our outing would be shorter than planned and we would not be climbing to the heights of the resort. No problem – we were already happy to be there.
“Every morning we show the dogs the harness to see if they want to put it on. If not, they turn their heads away. “
In Line with a Woman at the Controls
To begin, we said hello to each dog one by one with a big hug. There were 13 of them! Morgan then explained to us how the pack works. Leko is the head male and Maya is the head female. Since the pack is a matriarchal organisation, Maya also bosses the males. Here, there is no messing about with the hierarchy! The other males quickly put Nousky, the new arrival from Marseille, in his place when he circled around Maya. Maya also has a boss: Morgan, the musher. He explained to us that humans were untouchable in the dogs’ eyes. They can draw blood when they are sorting out hierarchy issues among themselves, but they will never touch a person. Morgan told us all about the different breeds and crossbreeding. So much so that I must confess that I don’t remember everything he said.
“Dogs are like high-level athletes with the mental age of a six-year-old child”
En route !
After this friendly initiation, we were ready to ride. Sitting in the sled, we darted onto the track after Morgan said, “OK DOG.” Off we went, very smoothly, with the sled gliding on the snow. Around us, there was no noise, just a calming silence. Well, nearly. Quickly, we heard Morgan’s rapid breathing, as the dogs, the fresh snow, and the weight of our bodies were putting him through the mill. A bit earlier, he had explained to us that this fine, fresh snow made the excursion more of a physical challenge for the musher. We stopped near a flat area to begin the practice.
“For them, it’s a game, but sometimes the lead dog will look back at the musher, as if to say, ‘wake up, I need you”
After some theorie, some practice
Which, in theory, should have gone well…
Morgan equipped us with helpful tips and off we went for our first attempts. My partner was the first to take the reins. A right turn, weight on the left leg first, then the right leg. One round, two rounds – and then it was my turn. I had butterflies, but in a good way. Off I went! Like on a ski tow, it was a sharp start, then the pace smoothed out. At the first right turn, I shifted my weight to my left leg, discovering that the dogs, those rogues, had cut the corners. Coming out of the first bend, there I was in the branches. But I made it! Straight ahead before the second turn, which was bordered by a little ditch. Lesson learned: the dogs can cut corners. Consequently, I shifted all my weight to my left leg so I could hold on until we came out of the second turn. But there was nothing I could do. I had to let go so I wouldn’t fall, along with the sled, into the little ditch. The second attempt wasn’t much more successful.
A bit of cardio
Before Heading Back
After training, it was time to go back. The trail continued on a good slope. Morgan suggested we take the sled’s controls with him. We headed off, me on the left, my partner in the middle, and Morgan on the right. The dogs pulled. Quickly, Morgan sprinted to the front of the sled to move it away from the inside of the bend, while my partner and I struggled furiously behind the sled to follow the hitch. Except that the hitch was much stronger than us so I had to let go. When we arrived at the top of the slope, I needed a few minutes to get my heartbeat back within the bounds of reason. I pretended I had some technical questions to ask Morgan to give me time to recover. It was time to return to base camp.
End of the road
An Unforgettable Adventure
When we arrived, Morgan apologised for having to cut our excursion short. We, on the other hand, had the impression that we just had a VIP experience. Those moments of tenderness with the dogs, listening to Morgan telling us about the life of a musher, the ride, sitting on the sled, and then at the controls, plus the energetic “cardio” session. In the end, we had been able to do it all and had an unforgettable time. To close: when I asked Morgan, “do you still enjoy this and go out on excursions for fun?” He answered: “Yes, sometimes I even get up at midnight to do a solo outing with my dogs.”
A Unique and Timeless Experience
In both summer and winter, answer the call of the wild and the great outdoors with Wild Experiences. They are based at an altitude of more than 1,600 m, at the heart of the Massif du Parpaillon in the Crévoux resort.