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Luxury Winter Play: Dog Sleds, Snowmobiles, and Snow Hotels

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January 15, 2016
Luxury winter trips: Dog sledding, snowmobiling, and snow hotels

When it comes to winter activities, skiing and snowboarding dominate, but there are a whole host of other winter activities at select resorts to get you outside. Check out snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing, ice fishing, or other alternative winter sports as a new way to beat Old Man Winter—or at least join him.

Snowmobiling

Many winter-themed resorts offer snowmobiling packages, such as the The Ranch at Rock Creek specials in southwest Montana. Accommodations provide two daily guided outdoor activities, including all gear and equipment and no cancellation fees for changing activity schedules. In winter, cabins start at $800 per person, per night, with a two-night minimum. In addition to snowmobiling, the resort offers snowshoeing and sleigh rides.

Northern New Hampshire’s Cabins at Lopstick offers all-inclusive “Ride and Stay” snowmobiling packages, including all equipment and gear. A three-night stay with two days of snowmobile rental starts at $1,215.

Dog Sledding

Maybe competing in the Iditarod is too much to ask for, but you can lead your own mushing team elsewhere. Dog sledding covers more area than skiing, and has a lower carbon footprint than snowmobiling.

Expedition Greenland offers trips with the Inuit dog sledders of Kulusuk, on the east side of the island. Sledders can learn skills Greenlanders use to survive and work with the dogs. The eight-day trip is about $4,400 at current currency conversion and includes flights from Reykjavik to Kulusuk, three nights’ sleeping-bag accommodation, all gear, dog teams, and drivers, among other equipment. Cost of a flight to Iceland and lodging in Reykjavik is not included.

In the U.S., Ely, Minnesota, is home to dog sledding teams, including tours offered by Wintergreen. Their four-night packages offer three days of guided dog sledding, with the option to try snowshoeing, skiing, and other sports. Prices are $1,375 per person and include lodging, dog teams, and meals.

Snow Hotel

For the truly luxurious winter activity, have Headline Mountain Holidays fly you via private helicopter to Whistler’s ice cap in British Columbia for private snowmobiling, skiing, or ice-cave exploration with a professional mountain guide. They’ll build you a one-of-a-kind snow hotel for your overnight stay and serve dinner prepared by a chef, all starting at $79,000.

Doug Washer, owner of Headline Mountain Holidays, says snow hotels are much different from ice hotels, as snow is a much better insulator. Snow hotels are “extremely comfortable and cozy … Your own body heat with a few candles warms it up,” he says. “Ice hotels have no insulation at all and will suck the heat out of you.”

Resort experts build the entire hotel, including furniture, out of snow, which traps the warm air and keeps the cold air out. They also supply pre-warmed feather beds for guests.

Worried this sounds like the worse kind of roughing it?

“You aren’t sleeping in minus 50-degree sleeping bags, which is the opposite of luxury,” Washer assures.

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