MUSH, YOU DOGS
There's no need to go all the way to Alaska to see the Iditarod for sled-dog racing, and the lifestyle associated with man's love for his sled dogs is alive and well just south of Crystal Mountain. One such man is Max Wiggins, a ski-lift operator at Crystal Mountain and an aficionado of this sport. He has a dog-sled riding business near the town of Copemish, where wife Wanda and daughter Brittannie have a kennel with 20 Siberian huskies they race in competitions across the northern woods. However, the really good news is that they also offer dog-sled rides (by appointment). Max can harness together as many as a dozen dogs to make up a team, but for the purpose of a dog-sled ride, he usually harnesses between four and six huskies. These animals are huge (we would guess maybe 35-60 pounds each) and unbelievably strong. They love to pull, and when not selected to be members of one of Max's ad hoc dog-sled teams, they cry (howl) their hearts out.

There are stories about dog teams that have helped get vehicles unstuck from the snow, so we asked Max if he thought the four dogs we'd harnessed could pull the Chevy Tahoe. "Without a doubt," he said--and, believe it or not, that's exactly what they did. Unhitching them from the sled, he connected the team's gang-line to the bumper of the Tahoe. With Max hanging out of the driver window hollering, "Mush!" the dogs took off with the Tahoe in tow. Absolutely amazing!


TIME TO GO...
During our stay at Crystal Mountain Ski Resort, we luxuriated in the ambiance of our upscale mountain-top accommodations. We indulged in everything from freshly ground gourmet coffees to fusion-style luncheon fare to elegant evening dining. We enjoyed the local red and white wines and the ales, ambers, and pilsners the local breweries craft. Equally important, we polished up our skills at snowboarding, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Our adventure also included the element of serendipity, an experience we hadn't anticipated but one we ended up totally enjoying. Within the last few weeks, Crystal Mountain ski resort had opened its new world-class Crystal Spa. Yes, guys, it's okay to enjoy the services of the spa's ultra-professional handpicked staff of masseuses and health consultants, their saunas, and the outdoor in-the-snow hot tub. We found you can literally arrive at the spa wearing your ski gear and boots and in minutes have the aches and pains associated with an invigorating day on the slopes become a rapidly fading memory.

SOURCES

Crystal Mountain
231/378-2998
www.crystalmountain.com

Roadhouse Mexican Bar & Grill
231/882-9631
www.roadhousesalsa.com

Wiggins Mountainside Huskies Dog Sled Rides
800/556-3597