25 / 15
      15 / 10
      13 / 8

      Dog sledding season begins

      Every winter brings lots of snow to the U.P., and all of that snow brings one of the area's most popular snow sports: dog sledding.

      Training, feeding, and taking care of one dog is hard...imagine what it's like having to do all that with 28 huskies training for the winter races! According to experts, it all starts with finding a leader.

      "Certain dogs, like people, are leaders, and some aren't. So when you get your dogs, you train them and see what ones are leaders, and hopefully you have a couple in the litter," said recreational musher, Jim Winkowski.

      Winkowski does that by walking with the dogs and giving commands and seeing how they respond.

      When it comes to feeding, the huskies eat much more than house dogs, especially in the training months.

      "It's a science, just like an athlete. It's all specialized. We're a smaller kennel, we do shorter races, so we just feed them really good food. High protein, high fat," Winkowski added.

      A shorter race is considered to be 30 miles in the dog sledding world. The UP 200 Race is about 240 miles, and that's coming up on February 17.

      Even in the warmer months, the dogs are still training. Some mushers use training carts and four wheelers when there isn't snow.

      Throughout the winter, Winkowski offers dog sled rides right in his backyard in Sands Township.

      "We love it out here, that's why we do it. We have so much fun getting people interested. It's a fun way to spend winter," Winkowski said.