Wapusk Adventures is featured as an authentic Indigenous experience in the Getaway on the Shores of Hudson Bay travel package. Visit the travel package site to book your trip today.
The din of howling, barking dogs getting hooked to your sled is deafening, but once they’re pulling you through the wondrous winter landscape, all you hear is the sound of their feet quietly pattering on the trail. Pure bliss, for both you and these canine athletes, the tough but affectionate Alaskan and Northern huskies at the heart of Wapusk Adventures in Churchill, Manitoba.
“We raise our dogs on love and respect, not fear, and we nurture their love of running,” says David Daley, who’s been operating the dogsledding company and gift shop with his wife Valerie since 1999. Everything — time, money, resources — go to their 39 dogs, who each burn 12,000 to 15,000 calories a day. Daley feeds them chicken and a professional fish-based dog food imported by the tonne from New Brunswick “because they need the best fuel to run.” Wapusk Adventures goes year-round, with dogsled tours in winter, and kennel visits and dogcart trips in summer.
“I’ve always had a connection with dogs,” says Daley, who loves to tell stories of his adventures racing in the Hudson Bay Quest — the Arctic dogsled survival race he founded — and his Aboriginal ancestry, which he traces to a Métis community in the Red River Valley in the 1500s. “It’s very cultural for me, working with animals. Dogs are really good at lots of jobs, from consoling people in hospitals to rescuing people from avalanches. They’re a gift from the Creator.”