Take an exhilarating sled ride along two miles of gorgeous wooded trails behind a team of dogs training for the ultimate sled-dog race, the Iditarod, at Treetops Resort in Gaylord.

Team Evergreen and musher Liza Dietzen travel the Upper Peninsula competing in races varying in length from 12 to 400 miles. Liza has been dreaming of racing in the Iditarod since kindergarten when her teacher read the class the true story of Balto (a Siberian husky who led his team on the 1925 serum run to Nome, in which an antitoxin was transported by dog sled to combat an outbreak of the disease in Alaska).

Get ready for the ride of your life!

WHERE: Treetops Resort, 3962 Wilkinson Rd., Gaylord | 855.597.7582

WHEN: January 14 & 15, February 11 & 12 and March 4 & 5. Rides are scheduled throughout the day.

HOW: Advance reservations are suggested before time slots fill up, and pre-payment is required at the time of booking. Check in at the Activities Center at least 15 minutes in advance of your scheduled time. A separate time slot must be booked for each sled load. To accommodate families, it is recommended that you reserve time slots that are back to back.

COST: $50 per person, ($15 for an additional person in sled). A sled load consists of:

  • 1 adult under 200 lbs.
  • 1 adult and 1 child under 200 lbs.
  • 2 children under 200 lbs.

Get to Know the Dogs: 

Meet the dogs and mushers, and hear the history of dog sledding during a 30-minute informational and interactive event.

WHEN: January 14, February 11, March 4 at 1:00 pm

HOW: Show up at the Activity Center and make your way across the street to meet the dogs.

COST: Free!

We checked in with Kevin McKinley, Director of Golf and Ski Operations at Treetops Resort, for more about this family-friendly (epic!) activity.

Give us the background about the dogs, Team Evergreen and Liza Dietzen. Are they training for the 2017 or 2018 Iditarod?
They are always in training with an ultimate goal of racing the Iditarod, but I believe it is at least two or three years off.

What’s the terrain and scenery of the 2-mile course like?
The dog sled rides take place on the Jones Masterpiece Golf Course which has very scenic terrain including running through deciduous and evergreen trees as well as several elevation changes. It’s amazing how well the dogs do on the subtle hills.

How would you describe dog sledding from the view of the rider? Thrilling, leisurely?
My best description is that it’s surprising how strong and athletic these dogs are. On December 30 they did over 35 rides, and when they get done with one, they can’t wait to get back on the trail and do another. The ride is certainly thrilling because it does surprise you how fast they go. Depending on the weight of the sled they are pulling, they have done 2-mile loops in as little as 7 minutes. That’s about the same time it takes an average human (pulling nothing) to run 1 mile in perfect summer conditions.

What would you highlight?
One of my favorite things about this crew from Team Evergreen Kennels is that the dogs all seem to have human-like personalities. Liza is very careful to only put some dogs with other dogs due to potential personality conflicts. However, get the right crew together, and it’s an unbelievably well-oiled machine.

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Photo(s) by Treetops Resort