Team up with exuberant sled dogs who love to pull and love to be loved on this exhilarating, eight to 22-day dogsledding and cross-country skiing expedition. Early on in the course, learn safety and rescue techniques as well as how to harness the dogs, set out lines and maneuver and guide the sled in a variety of challenging conditions. Allow your spirit to soar as a chorus of eager huskies rises to greet the dawn. Guide the team through placid winter wilderness, across frozen lakes and amongst snow-laden pines. Learn and practice the graceful kick and glide of broad cross country skis. Build relationships with like-minded adventurers. Solve problems, set goals as a team and earn the right to tell unparalleled adventure stories for years to come. No prior winter knowledge or experience is necessary. Your seasoned instructors and huskies will guide you through each new, awe-inspiring adventure.
No two Outward Bound expeditions are ever quite the same. Every crew is unique; every route is distinct; and every adventure is dynamic. But one thing remains the same. On each course, students rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places – and find strength and determination along the way.
- Build core skills: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Form a crew that supports and encourages one another, and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
- Practice Outward Bound values: Learn to incorporate Outward Bound values into everyday life by pushing your own limits and seeking challenge as an opportunity for personal growth.
- Demonstrate mastery: As the course nears the end, take on more leadership and decision-making responsibilities. Work together to apply new skills and achieve team goals during this final phase of the expedition.
- What you’ll learn: Return home a stronger, more resilient individual. Discover increased self-confidence, improved leadership, and a desire to make a difference.
DOG SLEDDING & CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
As they navigate a route over frozen lakes and rivers and travel the overland portage trails between them, students develop skills in backcountry skiing, winter camping, managing and mushing dogs and controlling a dogsled. Group members take turns mushing the sled throughout the course, but everyone cares for the dogs on a daily basis. Mushing is not a passenger sport; it is hard and rewarding work. Students generally spend at least two days driving the team for each week of course length.
Each type of terrain requires different skills and group organization. On level, smooth terrain most group members ski or snowshoe ahead as two or three group members handle the sleds and dog teams. Skiers scout for obstacles, break trail through the snow and return to help maneuver the sleds when necessary. Over rough areas, the whole group helps to push, pull and turn the sled.
WINTER LIVING AND CAMP SET UP
With plenty of training, students find that they can live comfortably in cold temperatures. Students learn how to regulate their body temperature with layers of clothing, exercise and diet. Setting up a snug winter camp takes time, energy and teamwork. Scouting for a sheltered bay with good firewood in the late afternoon, the group quickly learns that the night comes too quickly in the great white North.
Constructing a shelter to ward off the chilling winds and erecting a room-sized tent large enough to accommodate a wood stove and a brigade of weary travelers before cooking a warm, hearty dinner over an outdoor fire or the stove rounds out the day. Reflective evening conversations with fellow travellers amongst the solitude of the wintry northwoods ground this extraordinary adventure. Students often enjoy clear evening stargazing before drifting off into a well deserved sleep.
PERSONAL CHALLENGE EVENT
15-day expeditions end with a Personal Challenge Event (PCE), which is a final individual physical challenge. Time and weather permitting, students finish their journey with a skiing race –a non-competitive event that allows students to set their own goals and work towards them. A final celebration back at basecamp with an authentic wood-fired sauna and “polar plunge” in the river signals the completion of the course.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota.
Over 10,000 years ago, continental-sized glaciers scraped their way across much of Ontario and northern Minnesota leaving deep ruts, ravines, and holes in their tracks. Eventually, as the glaciers melted, these ravines filled with water, creating a seemingly endless interconnected web of lakes and rivers. In the winter, the BWCAW transforms into an even more severe and remote wilderness. While more difficult, winter enthusiasts travel over frozen lakes and rivers by dogsled, cross-country ski and snowshoe. Winter in the Boundary Waters is mesmerizing, peaceful, and exhilarating. It is a place of spectacular extremes, trackless snow, bracing cold air, glowing warm embers, and powerful silence.
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