Winter Internship – Dogsledding

Website Paws for Adventure LLC

A Premier Dog Sledding Tour kennel since 1998

Job Excerpt:

Winter 2022-23 Dog Mushing Internship

Pause for adventure…with our Apprentice Opportunity!

Through the years many of our guests, neighbors, and friends have expressed the desire to ‘live the life’ with sled dogs.  Here’s a chance to have that experience without committing to a full-season job…try it out! 8 week Apprentice Opportunities available.

Skills/ attitudes preferred:

1.     Enjoy working with animals, especially sled dogs
2.     Hardworking – you like to work outside and prefer to be physically busy;  upper body strength is a must as you’ll be using it, you can lift and carry 50 lbs
3.     Your glass is half-full – good attitude, a generally happy person who enjoys new challenges and likes people; we are a tour kennel… busier in winter than summer
4.     Mechanically inclined : Driving atv’s & full-sized pickup, knowledge and use of power tools
5.     If you are internet savvy, enjoy social media and have good experience with business software, you might pick up extra pay helping our tour coordinator with booking and guest services or marketing.
6.     Photographers may find a niche market for their services if they have entrepreneurial skills/ or ideas (?)…especially videography
7. Couples are encouraged to apply.

What you can expect:
1.     An introduction to sled dog/ kennel life and musher training
2.     A place to stay in a nearby cabin …and stipend (approx. $250/week) to cover food with opportunities for additional pay (e.g. Moonlight Mush guest coordinator, covering handler days-off each week)
3.     Work independently and with owner and handler to complete kennel chores and kennel building projects.
4.     5-day work week with time off to do other things – we realize it’s an intense job living and working with animals in a tour kennel.  So, getting out to learn to mush or soak in the hot springs, go x-c skiing, learning to ride a snowmachine (snowmobile) & enjoying the Aurora Borealis and frozen tundra is soul-cleansing.

Program Dates:
1.    November 1, 2022 to January 1, 2023
2.    February 1, 2023 to April 1, 2023
Be sure you consider your commitment carefully as the position is multi-faceted.  It takes a lot of energy and training on our part to offer this experience. Fall/Winter is a busy time in the kennel as far as schedules and tourism…it is a good time to see and work with sled dogs in their ‘element’.

Fall and Winter are far more fast-paced and regimented.  Training ramps up in the cooler months (end of August, September we are training every day on ATVS, and switch to sleds when the snow flies.  We usually have a trail for mushing with sleds by the first week of November.  Tours increase as we enter the Fall Aurora Season (beginning September and continuing thru April).  A 2- month volunteer opportunity (Nov- Jan) could turn into a paid handler position for the right person for the remainder of the Winter Season.

February and March are by far the busiest months of the season.  As daylight returns to the Interior, so do the larger numbers of tour groups and independent travellers. We also conduct our multi-day Tolovana Roadhouse tours in February and March.  During this time period, you may be able to experience a 5-7 Day mushing excursion to the Tolovana Roadhouse with Leslie and Dave.

1.     You will want a vehicle.  We are located 20 minutes driving from the town of Fairbanks for grocery shopping and activities.
2.     You will need work clothes and gloves – you will get dirty and smell like a dog when you work with 50 sled dogs.  I will provide a list of gear you will need to stay warm for winter.  The Arctic inner layers will be up to you to purchase. I can provide arctic outerwear and boots for your stay.
3.     We do have a full-time ‘paid position’ as Dog Handler.  Jessie is our Handler and has been working with us since last winter.  She has regular days off (2 days per week).  You may be asked to cover her days off once you learn the ropes. Added paid will be offered in that case.

What might be a typical day?
8:00 to 9:30 am-ish: Mornings begin with coffee and dog chores: As the winter comes on we lose daylight, so you’ll be up and out with your headlamp before the sun rises to assist with morning chores. However, the dogs will greet you with a smile and a wag as you visit each with the bucket of kibble. You’ll help scoop the kennel, grab some breakfast and get ready for the day’s tours or projects:

10:00 – 4:00 dogsled tours (includes talking with visitors about sled dogs and giving accurate information about the dogs and the area & walking guests to their musher guide, keeping the kennel scooped and possibly helping hook up dogs to the gangline).  There are other responsibilities outside the tour schedule such as doghouse repairs – you’ll be taught the use of tools needed to refurbish the wooden doghouses and fix broken chains, etc…, If we have pups, you’ll be invited on puppy walks, help with dog training, and you might be asked to help with trail grooming – using a snowmachine (what Alaskan’s call a snowmobile) & drag.

5:00 – 6:00-ish: Evening feeding and a last scoop of the kennel

Evening in the land of Aurora tours … when the work day is done: visit a local eatery, read a book, rest your weary bones :)…Our kennel is situated on 280 acre homestead property owned by a local family who runs a B&B and farm on the hill above our kennel.  The handler’s cabin (where Jessie stays) and kennel are situated on a quiet, sunny, south-facing slope looking at the Alaska Range.  Kory (the owner of A Taste of Alaska Lodge & Aurora Pointe Activity Center) operates an upscale BnB (the former) and nightly Aurora Tours (the latter) beginning at 10:00 pm.  If you are a night-owl, Paws sometimes needs a guest coordinator for our “Moonlight Mush” who greets our guests at Aurora Pointe Activity Center and gets them ready for their nighttime dogsled ride (you can see the details of that on our website). It starts at 10:00pm and you would be done by Midnight. Again, an opportunity for extra pay.

**Days off are a must and need to be planned…it is suggested you travel around the local area and enjoy the land and outdoors.  Birch Hill X-C Ski area is nearby. There is a downhill ski area on Cleary Summit, but usually doesn’t open until spring.   We’re 50 miles from Chena Hot Springs Resort, you’ll pass the Chena River State Recreation area on the way out there.  There is an extensive trail system in the Chena River Valley to check out via dogsled, snowshoeing, fatbike, or snowmachine. There are not a lot of shopping malls and great places to buy clothes or trinkets – we mostly shop at our local Food market (Fred Meyer ) for everything from food to furniture to clothing.  We have a Costco in town. We also have a few outdoor stores including REI.  Check out town activities – Museum of the North at UAF, Antique Car Museum, check out local breweries and eateries ….too many to mention here.  Food and housing is expensive relative to East Coast…
Check out to see more fun winter tours & activities like Reindeer walks, Santa Claus house, etc…

Job Submission Instructions: please submit resumé with at least 2 references; qualified candidates will also be asked to fill out an application
Job Contact Name: Leslie Goodwin-Williams
Job Contact Phone: (907) 378-3630

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