As part of my Christmas present Linda got me an introductory dog-sledding lesson. While I don't necessarily want to become a professional dog-sledder, I was really looking forward to getting out in the snow with the dogs.
I did have some reservations. We had watched a show on BBC where they were recreating the Scott trip to the north pole; the dogs in the show were only a small step away from being completely wild, and spent all their time fighting or chewing through their nylon traces.
Fortunately the dogs I had were a lot more friendly than that, although the handler made a point of telling me they should always be attached to a line, because otherwise they would run off and kill a sheep.
Anyway, the lady who ran the show was very nice, taking Linda and I for a ride in the sled before giving me some instruction and setting out for a run around the training track. It was great fun and it was amazing how strong the dogs were - I had three dogs on my sled, with one of them leading so really just two dogs were doing the pulling. Apparently they can run for 50km a day through the snow, in sub-zero temperatures.
Linda huddled behind a shed, very bravely trying to snap off a few photos and take video, but it was so cold her camera kept turning off.
After the training session we got invited back for another run with the dogs because they still had plenty of energy. It was snowing heavily all morning (which was just as well, because it has been unseasonably warm recently and the snow had been melting) and through the day we kept slipping into the local café for a restorative chocolat chaud at regular intervals.
We tossed up the idea of renting some snow shoes but the weather seemed a bit changeable so we went for the safer option of renting a little blue louge and blazing our own tobogganing trail down the surprisingly steep hill nearby.
After the early start and the cold, we were feeling quite worn out by all this and caught the little train back down the hill to Nyon and then home, where we spent the rest of the night immobile on the sofa, waiting to thaw.
Many thanks to Veronique Andersson of St-Cergue for the excellent session. Contact me for her details.