In the Drôme, mushers and sled dogs do not know the crisis

How about taking a breath of fresh air in the snow-covered forests of Vercors? Due to the lack of ski lifts, Nordic activities have not experienced a crisis since the start of winter. This is particularly the case with mushers and their sled dogs.

A whistle, coupled with a “hop hop“, and off they go at full speed, pulling the sled where the musher and a young couple are seated. The ride will extend over ten kilometers, in the middle of nature, on the Vercors plateau. sled dogs have been in full swing in the Drôme since the end of the year holidays.With the health restrictions linked to the Covid pandemic, with ski lifts stopped, many holidaymakers have afforded a breath of fresh air, drawn by the dogs.

We had to refuse requests

Sébastien Meurant is one of the ten or so professional mushers from Vercors. And since the end of 2020, he has not been idle. “I didn’t work more than usual because dogs aren’t machines, aren’t robots. So I limited myself to the same number of walks, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. On the other hand, we refused a lot“.

The training schedules for driving a team and rides were complete during the Christmas holidays. The mushers distributed the requests to satisfy the maximum.

Immersion in nature

For your baptism in dog sledding, Sébastien Meurant will start by making the presentations. “Meet Silver, an Alaskan husky and malamute cross“. Silver is a leading dog, who can distinguish right from left, and knows how to listen to commands. Other breeds make up the team of a dozen dogs. Example, the Greenland dog,”a 4×4“comments the musher,”he is a very powerful and loyal dog“.

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Then, all you have to do is bundle up on the sled, and let yourself go to contemplate the snowy landscapes, in the middle of the trees frozen by the cold. For Sébastien Meurant, the dog sledding activity is “in the mood of time“. Allows you to be in complete immersion in nature, in a wild and preserved environment.”We are connected to the present moment, to the elements“.

Dog sledding activity is gaining ground with the health crisis

An activity that is becoming more democratic

The promotion of Nordic activities is the business of the Vassieux-en-Vercors tourist office. Snowshoes, dog sledding … “There is a very marked interest in these Nordic activities due to the impossibility of alpine skiing.“, recognizes Damien Barbier. And the town of Vassieux-en-Vercors is famous for walks with musher and sled dogs.

It is an activity in its own right, it responds to a current demand for “multi-activity” ski holidays. Thanks to the health crisis, people have been able to discover a little more these activities which are less popular, but which are really starting to become more and more democratic.

Sébastien Meurant, professional musher

And Damien Barbier adds that Nordic activity is practically not only in winter, but “all year round”.

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