The small country of Andorra is located in the Eastern Pyrenees, between France and Spain. Despite its size, this principality is a great spot for outdoor adventures of all kinds – especially in winter. Thanks to its many mountains of an average height of 1900 meters, Andorra is one of the snowiest places of the Pyrenees. And dog sledding in Andorra is probably the most magical experience to live there in winter.
For over 15 years, Mushing Pirineus has been offering amazing dog sledding excursions in the Port d’Envalira Region, not far from the Grandvalira Ski resort. The certified mushers take care of over 40 dogs all year round and take old and young through the incredible nature of the Pyrenees and make their stay in Andorra unforgettable.
But what exactly to expect during a mushing excursion in Andorra? Who can do dog sledding? What to bring for the ride? What breed are the dogs? And what do the dogs do in summer? We have asked those and many other questions to Jordi, musher and founder of Mushing Pirineus.
Discover all you need to know about dog sledding in Andorra before starting your winter adventure!
Mushing excursions in Grandvalira
Jordi, what is dog sledding?
Dog sledding is one of the best activities to enjoy winter and the snow! Many years ago it was considered a means of transportation, however now, it has become a sport and snow activity in Andorra. It is an experience that allows people to enjoy nature with family and friends and that they will not forget so soon.
What to expect during a mushing excursion in Port d’Envalira?
A mushing excursion is a unique activity, because you are surrounded by nature and in contact with the animals. The most incredible thing with Mushing Pirineus’ excursions is that the activity takes place at 2400 m, in the highest area of Andorra. It is going to be a pretty snow activity in winter, and thus people need to prepare accordingly. In order to come to Andorra by car in winter, clients have to put chains on the wheels of their vehicle. From November 15th to April 15th this is even mandatory. Sometimes there are heavy snowfalls. If you prepare yourself and your car for that, then you’ll be sure to enjoy a wonderful experience in an amazing winter wonderland!
What itineraries do you propose?
Mushing Pirineus offers two circuits: one of 2 km and one of 3.5 km. The shorter one lasts between 10 and 15 minutes and the second one between 20 and 30 minutes. It all depends on the weight of the sled. Therefore, it will not be the same time of activity for 2 adults than for a family of 2 adults and 2 children. It also depends on the state of the snow. That is to say, if half a meter of snow has fallen the night before, it is more complicated for the dogs and the route is slower. If the snow is hard and solid, the sled can go faster.
Who can do dog sledding?
Can you do dog sledding with a baby?
Dog sledding in Andorra can be done by families with children from 2 years old. For children under 2 years old, we do not recommend it due to the snow.
What to wear during a dog sledding excursion?
And what to bring?
The instructor provides the clients with all the necessary mushing gear. What the client has to bring for a dog sledding excursion is warm clothes, a winter jacket, gloves, beanie and goggles as well as winter boots etc. We also recommend bringing spare clothes to change into after the activity.
How much does dog sledding cost?
Since Mushing Pirineus proposes different excursions, the price depends on the duration. For the 2 km tour, the average price is €50 per person and for the 3.5 km tour, the price is €70 per person. For children, however, the price is a bit lower.
Under which circumstances can you not do a dog sledding excursion?
The main reason to cancel a dog sledding excursions are unfavourable weather conditions. On the one hand, too much wind obliges the instructors to cancel the activity because there is no visibility. On the other hand, rain makes it very complicated to do dog sledding because the snow turns into mud, almost impossible for the dogs to advance. Snowfalls however are no problem, since it is a winter activity and the more snow there is, the more beautiful it is!
Andorra, a perfect spot for dog sledding
Why is Andorra a great place for mushing?
Its enviable location in the middle of the Pyrenees gives Andorra spectacular scenery and endless possibilities for winter sports. It is a perfect place due to the snow and its natural environment. The landscapes leave visitors speechless. The activity takes place in the high area of Port d’Envalira, specifically at the foot of the mountain Pic del Maia, which has an altitude of 2560 m.
Mushing is an activity that cannot be found in many places, and Andorra is one of the few spots between Spain and France where there is the possibility to live a dog sledding experience.
When is the best period to do a mushing excursion in Andorra?
The best period is in winter, mainly in January and February. During these two months, there is usually more snow, but this can change as each winter is different.
Mushing Pirineus also proposes snowmobile excursions.
What’s the difference with a dog sledding experience?
Dog sledding is a more relaxed and quiet activity where you are in contact with the animals. Snowmobiles, with a speed of 60 km/h, offer more adrenaline. In the case of mushing, you can better appreciate the scenery as the sled runs through the mountains at 20-30 km/h. Snowmobiling and dog sledding are both great activities to do in the winter wonderland of Andorra, but you will experience it differently – calm or with a kick.
The tireless sled dogs of Mushing Pirienus
Since when do you propose dog sledding in Andorra?
At Mushing Pireneus we’ve been offering dog sledding excursions for 16 years now. At first only at a sport and competition level, and today it is also a tourism activity, where we welcome guests from all over the world to discover beautiful Andorra.
What breed and how old are the dogs?
The breed of dogs that perform the activity are Husky and Alaska Husky. The dogs participating in the Mushing activity are usually between 1 year and 9 years old. In winter, these dogs are fed on 80% chicken meat and 20% feed.
How many dogs pull the sled?
To perform the Mushing activity, between 10 and 12 dogs per sled are used, depending on the weight of the sled and the snow conditions.
Are the dogs suffering when pulling the sled?
No, the dogs do not suffer from the activity. The dogs that are chosen for dog sledding, like huskies, have a unique way of turning food into energy. Contrary to a human, sled dogs can immediately turn fat and proteins into energy and need this amount of exercise. Pulling a sled through thick snow is a cakewalk for them! Moreover, we instructors are dog lovers, and we take good care of the dogs and only act in their best interest.
Can clients pet the dogs?
Are clients allowed to take photos with the dogs?
We make an outing every hour, regardless of the short and long circuit. Between one excursion and another, the dogs rest, and all that time until the next outing the client can take pictures and be with them. However, when the activity is in progress and the dogs are working, the clients cannot feed the dogs.
What do the dogs do in summer?
All our dogs live on a 3500 m2 farm, and have total freedom. Before the season, the dogs often leave Andorra and head for training in France and Spain. In summer mushing dogs train with a wheeled sled to prepare for winter.
And finally, how to become a professional musher?
The most important thing to become a musher is that you really like the activity. Actually, it is more a way of life than an activity. The trainers live all year round with the animals. We have about 40 dogs, including retired dogs. Even when there are no clients, the instructors have to work this them 6 hours a day – rain or snow.
We have instructors that come to Andorra to work and who like dogs very much. This is not always enough. Being a Musher requires a lot of sacrifice, dedication and time. Mushers have to love a combination of sport, snow and dogs. Our instructors know the routes and the best areas for dog sledding in Andorra perfectly.