The Outdoor Learning Center offers a unique, first-hand experience to learn the ins and outs of dog sledding.
The OLC’s activity gives participants, whether BYU-Idaho students or seasoned Eskimo’s, the opportunity to be instructed by Keith Larsen, an expert in the dog sledding field. Larsen works as the OlC’s Facilities & Maintenance Specialist, according to BYU-I’s directory Web page.
Students met at the OLC located under the BYU-Idaho Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 22 before they departed to Badger Creek for the first dogsledding trip of the semester.
“Brother Larsen, the dog sledding expert in charge of the activity, was very knowledgeable about the history of dog sledding, along with what breeds are most effective for the sport,” said Jordan Newman, a sophomore majoring in university studies.
Newman said the participants hooked a team of dogs to two four-wheelers in order to compensate for the lack of snow at Badger Creek.
“Although we didn’t use sleds on snow, it was amazing just to watch the dogs behave as a team,” said Sam Dyer, a freshman studying art.
Dyer said the expert, Larsen, traveled to Greenland in order to handpick the sled dogs to bring to Badger Creek.
He said the sleddog pack Larsen picked is one of only two Greenland packs found in the United States.
Newman said that most professional mushers have never laid their eyes on a Greenland sled dog pack, which makes this a unique opportunity for students.
Musher is the official term for the driver of a dog sled, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Along with learning how to work with and train sled dogs, Dyer said participants gained an understanding of the reasoning behind using dogs to pull sleds along a frozen tundra.
“I learned about how sledding dogs came to be,” Dyer said. “It happened many, many centuries ago between the wolves and the natives of the land. Dog sledding’s main purpose was for food and survival.”
The OLC is offering two more dogsledding activities this semester, which will take place on Nov. 15 and Dec. 5 from 5-9 p.m. each day.
Tickets for the activity are $15, which includes transportation and equipment, according to the OLC Web page.
For more information, students can visit the OLC or the Student Activities Office. They can also contact the OLC through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.