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As soon as I gaze into her baby blues, I know I'm in good hands, er, paws.
You see, Venus, with those quintessential sled dog blue eyes, will lead my sled on this Candle Creek Dog Sled Tour at Big White Ski Resort.
When I first meet Venus she is calm, confident and friendly, precisely the attributes you want in a pooch that will guide you, and seven other dogs, on an adrenaline rush across the frozen landscape.
In fact, all 33 of the dogs are laid-back and affectionate when we first meet them at Candle Creek's kennels near Big White's Adventure Park.
But when the sleds come out, the dogs know it's selection time and an organized chaos of canine proportions ensues.
They're jumping, prancing, yelping, howling and, of course, barking, in a pick-me, pick-me cacophony.
Venus and her uncle, Hot Wheels, are chosen by Candle Creek owners Tim Tedford and Kerry Meadows to lead my sled with Shadow, Quillo, Ned Zeppelin, Brando, Casey and Pancakes also harnessed in.
I settle in the sled, and Kerry stands up behind me on the runners.
With a 'mush' and a lurch we're off on the seven kilometre groomed trail through pine forest and alpine meadows.
It's a thrill to experience the speed and witness the power of the dogs as they kick up snow and sprint over the white topography.
At the half-way point we stop, dogs-a-panting, to pat the team and take photos.
On the way back, I get to take charge, standing on the back runners while Kerry bundles into the sled.
But the reality is, Venus and Hot Wheels set the pace, steer and motivate the whole team back to base.
"This relationship between dog and human is one few of us get to experience," said Tim.
"You depend on the dogs and they depend on you. It's a true team concept."
The one-hour Candle Creek Dog Sled experience costs $269 for the first sled and $229 for the second sled in a group and includes a half-hour of meeting and harnessing the dogs and half-hour of sledding.
Sleds can accommodate two guests if their combined weight doesn't exceed 285 pounds.
New this year is the $100 kennel tour, in which a group of four meet the dogs and glean information about them.
Big White is a ski resort that has other winter activities such as dog sled and snowmobile tours, horse-drawn sleigh rides and fat bike rentals.
Check out BigWhite.com.
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