Chilly Dogs Sled Dog Trips in Ely, Minnesota

Book now for this coming winter, as spots are already starting to fill!


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How We Run & FAQs


Chilly Dogs dogsledding!

How We Run

  • No previous dogsledding experience is necessary—we’ll teach you!
  • All ages are welcome!
  • We run each sled with either 2 adults (driver and rider), OR 2 adults and 1 small child (child on adult riders’ lap), OR 1 adult driving with 1-2 kids riding.
  • Our adult guests—of average or better physical fitness, age 15 and older, weighing at least 105 pounds—are eligible to drive a dogsled.
  • Driving a dogsled requires the ability to stand on the sled runners, lean and assist with steering while traveling on level ground, and stepping off the sled to jog beside it (while still holding the handlebar) and ascending hills along the trail.
  • There are an average of 5 sleds per trip.
  • There are two guides per trip—one in the lead sled, one further back in the group.
  • Guests are either paired with one of our guides, or with another member of their own party; never with a member of another party.
  • Our Trip Coordinator pre-determines sled arrangements based on the information you provide when booking.
  • Guests will receive sled assignments (placement of riders/drivers) just prior to sled launch.
  • If two guests are paired on a sled together, and both meet the fitness requirements, they can each take a turn driving for half of the trip.
  • If the guests that are paired with our guides meet the fitness requirements, they will have the opportunity to drive for the second half of the trip.
  • We usually need about half (50%) of a group’s participants to meet the fitness requirements for driving a sled. Email us your group’s basic information, and we can discuss how to best accommodate your group.

Chilly Dogs sled dogs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you run your trips when it’s below zero?
Absolutely! A typical northern Minnesota winter includes many days of sub-zero temperatures, and the dogs are happiest running in these conditions! Never fear, though—we have an extensive and affordable rental clothing department, and we will make any recommendations for additional clothing you may need based on the day’s temperature and conditions. Something to remember: "People get cold, not because of the temperature outside, but because of insufficient clothing to keep them warm."

How many dogs will be on my team?
We run anywhere from 4 to 6 dogs per customer sled, and that number is determined by a variety of factors, such as trail conditions, sled weights, trip type, and even on the abilities of the individual dogs themselves. Click to read more about our amazing canine athletes.

Why is physical fitness a factor in your tours? Isn’t dogsledding just about standing on the runners while the dogs pull us on the sled?
While the dogs ARE doing the heavy pulling, the sled driver must assist them by jogging up hills alongside the sled; leaning to help steer the sled around turns in the trail; and maintaining balance on the sled runners throughout the trip. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to drive a dogsled, but you do have to be at least reasonably fit.

Why are there weight limits for individuals on your trips? Can’t you just add more dogs if people are heavier?
Not necessarily. For reasons of safety for both dogs and people, there is a limit to how much dog power we will put on an individual team. This creates the need for a personal weight limit on our trips.

Can you accommodate non-English-speaking guests?
Direct, two-way communication between our staff and each of our guests, both in our pre-trip training and on the dogsled trip itself, is vital for the safety of all. For that reason, we require our guests to be able to speak and understand English very well, without the need for an interpreter.

We may not have enough people who qualify to be a sled driver in our group. Can we still go dogsledding?
Email us to discuss your group’s details. There may be a scenario where we have additional guides to accommodate groups that don’t have enough of their own sled drivers. We would be happy to provide you with your options!

Are there people who simply CANNOT or SHOULD NOT go on one of your trips?
Someone with a chronic injury (back, spine, etc.) that could be further injured by being jostled around in a sled—or by falling off a sled—should not go on one of our trips. If you have such an injury, you will want to seek the advice of your doctor before booking with us.

For safety reasons, pregnant women should not come on a dogsled trip, but should instead plan a family dogsled trip with us in the future.

Is your facility handicap accessible?
No, it is not.

Can I bring my pet or service animal to your facility?
For safety and other reasons, we cannot allow our guests’ pets or service animals on our property, whether in your vehicle or otherwise. If you are traveling with a pet, you may be able to leave them at your hotel or leave them at a local boarding facility while you are dogsledding with us.

Do you allow visits to your kennel without going on a dogsled trip?
At this time, we do not offer any kennel visits during our off-season. Due to capacity limitations, we can only allow registered dog sledding participants on the premises during our dogsledding season. For those providing a chauffeur service to a registered guest, we ask that you drop-off your passengers at the first building, and return there to pick them up at the end of their trip time.

Even Minions love to dog sled at Chilly Dogs!

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