Going for a ride

Jason Malloy
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Ski hill offering one last weekend of dog sled rides

Going for a ride

WENTWORTH - Rob and Louise Cooke are dog lovers.

They have 29 - yes that's right - 29 Siberian huskies at their Shubenacadie

home that they raise and compete in dogsled races. It started innocently

enough about a decade ago for the United Kingdom couple.

Rob was in the military and wanted to get a dog to keep Louise company. They

settled on a husky, but were soon told they needed more than one.

"As soon as I started running the dogs... I knew I loved it," Rob told the

Transcontinental Media on Wednesday.

"It's hard to describe, (but) being out on the trail just me and the dogs is

something special. You get kind of a bond with the dogs and you're also away

from civilization.

"It's really addictive, once you start doing it you just can't stop."

Racing the dogs in the U.K. was much different than in Canada. Due to a lack

of snow they do not use sleds, instead three-wheel carts are pulled by the


The couple decided to immigrate to Canada about four years ago and really

fell in love with the country.

The dogs were in the limelight last weekend in Wentworth providing sled

rides to people atop the ski hill.

"It was the first time we've ever done it. It was a lot of fun," Rob

admitted. "We really enjoyed it and the dogs really had a good time. They

loved meeting all the people, especially all the kids."

Teams of eight dogs took people on the 20-minute ride through the

six-kilometre cross-country ski trail atop Ski Wentworth. Rob said it was a

beautiful trail with a variety of terrain.

They will be offering the rides for a fee this weekend as well.

"Dogsledding is one of those uniquely Canadian experiences that you only see

on TV or read about in the paper. But how many people have actually had the

opportunity to go for a dog sled ride," said Ski Wentworth general manager

Leslie Wilson. "We're very fortunate to be able to offer this bit of

Canadiana over the March Break."

A member of the hill's ski patrol has been guiding expeditions across the

Canadian wilderness for more than seven years.

"It's the lure of dogsledding and working with the animals that drew me in,"

said Truro native Michael Stratton.

"It's a completely different experience than riding anything else. It's

exhilarating, yet quiet. You really have to experience it for yourself.

Watching the dogs running in sequence is what I really enjoy."


Dogsled rides

Where: Ski Wentworth

When: Rides are offered every half hour starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday and

Sunday by professional dogsled teams

Registration: Pre-registration is required by calling 548-2089 extension 222

or visit the information counter in the ski hill lodge

Who: Rob and Louise Cooke and their Siberian huskies

Maximum: One adult or two children per sled

Cost: $25 per person

Important note: Participants take the ski lift to the top of the trail but

must be able to ski down a beginner trail to get back to the lodge at the

bottom of the hill.

For more information: www.skiwentworth.ca

Quote: "They can run 30 or 40 miles without stopping... It's really pretty

impressive to watch." Rob Cooke

Geographic location: WENTWORTH, United Kingdom, Canada Shubenacadie

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