Boundary Waters Dog Sledding & Cross Country Skiing for Adults

Learn the techniques of cross-country winter travel on this exhilarating, eight-day winter expedition.
Un-plug and disconnect in order to be inspired and re-connect with your true self. Develop greater self-reliance, technical skills and self-confidence as you dogsled, ski and snowshoe in magical, pristine, snowy forests. Tackle rugged winter environments with a team of hard-working huskies who are ever ready to hit the trail. Learn to harness, mush and care for a team of working dogs as they work with you to move your gear from camp to camp. Take part in a beautiful winter choreography as skiers serve as advance “scouts”—navigating, checking for safe ice conditions and cutting a trail while mushers help guide the loaded dog sleds to follow.

30+ expeditions are based upon the premise that living a balanced and satisfying life is not a matter of chance but requires periodic re-examination and fine-tuning. Instructor-facilitated discussions around key concepts of life/work balance, coupled with time for personal reflection, add a valuable dimension to this wilderness expedition. No prior winter knowledge or experience is necessary; skilled instructors and energetic huskies provide all of the training you’ll need.

Course Area

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota.
Over 10,000 years ago, continental-sized glaciers scraped their way across much of Ontario and northern Minnesota leaving deep ruts, ravines, and holes in their tracks. Eventually, as the glaciers melted, these ravines filled with water, creating a seemingly endless interconnected web of lakes and rivers.

In the winter, the BWCAW transforms into an even more severe and remote wilderness. While more difficult, winter enthusiasts’ travel over frozen lakes and rivers by dogsled, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Winter in the Boundary Waters is mesmerizing, peaceful, and exhilarating. It is a place of spectacular extremes, trackless snow, bracing cold air, glowing warm embers, and powerful silence.

Adult Courses
Unplug from electronic devices and plug into the fundamentals of the natural world on an Adult expedition with Outward Bound. Acquire essential outdoor skills and experience rugged wilderness adventures as skilled Instructors urge you to surpass expectations and realize “there is more in you than you know.” With physical challenge, time for rest and reflection and conversations dedicated to evaluating life priorities, our adult courses are refreshing, reaffirming and rejuvenating.

  • Build core skills: Receive hands-on training in technical and interpersonal skills as part of a diverse and supportive adult crew. Confront new challenges and re-discover your inner strength.
  • Practice Outward Bound values: Learn to incorporate core values like compassion, integrity, excellence and diversity and inclusion into your daily life on course.
  • Demonstrate mastery: As the course nears the end, Instructors transfer leadership responsibilities to the students. As a crew, apply new skills and work together to achieve team goals.
  • What you’ll learn: Return to home, work and family with a refreshed outlook, renewed confidence in your own abilities, and the satisfaction of challenges met and overcome.

Listed below are a few of the activities:

Dog Sledding and Cross Country Skiing

While on the expedition you will navigate a route over frozen lakes and rivers and travel the overland portage trails between them. You will develop skills in backcountry skiing, winter camping, managing and mushing dogs, and controlling a dogsled.

Group members will take turns mushing the sled throughout the course, but everyone will care for the dogs on a daily basis. Mushing is not a passenger sport; it is hard and rewarding work. Students generally spend at least two days driving the team for each week of course length.

Each type of terrain you encounter will require different skills and group organization. On level, smooth terrain most group members will ski or snowshoe ahead as two or three group members handle the sleds and dog teams. Skiers scout for obstacles, break trail through the snow and return to help maneuver the sleds when necessary. Over rough areas, the whole group will help to push, pull, and turn the sled.

Winter Living and Camp Set Up

With our training, students will find that they can live comfortably in cold temperatures. Students will learn how to regulate their body temperature with layers of clothing, exercise and diet.

Setting up a snug winter camp takes time, energy, and teamwork. Scouting for a sheltered bay with good firewood in the late afternoon the group quickly learns that the night comes too quickly in the great white north.

Constructing a shelter to ward off the chilling winds and erecting a room sized tent large enough to accommodate a wood stove and a brigade of weary travelers before cooking a warm, hearty dinner over an outdoor fire or the stove rounds out the day.

Reflective evening conversations with fellow travelers amongst the solitude of the wintry North woods grounds this extraordinary formidable adventure before a clear evening of stargazing as you drift off into a well deserved sleep.

Please submit the Course Inquiry form or call (828) 239-2376 to discuss if this course is right for you.

Visit the Voyageur Outward Bound School frequently asked questions page to learn more about the application process, scholarships, what to expect, how to pack and where your course begins.

Upon enrollment on a Voyageur Outward Bound School course students receive a day-by-day course itinerary, detailed packing list, and detailed arrival and departure information specific to their course.

Scholarship Info

Our Scholarship Program is guided by a single principle: Every person should be given the opportunity to experience adventure and challenge, develop character and compassion, and learn leadership skills and service ethics, regardless of financial ability.

Moreover, we bring together diverse groups of students to instill cultural understanding and teamwork skills that enable them to become principled leaders.

Thanks to generous donations from alumni, parents, corporations, foundations, and others, Outward Bound awards up to $3.7 million in scholarships to 6,000 students each year.

The Voyageur Outward Bound School scholarship program is need-based and in order to be considered, applicants must first enroll on a course, pay a $500 deposit and check a box noting that they are interested in a Scholarship. The deposit payment is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 enrollment processing fee (usually non-refundable). After the applicant enrolls, a Course Advisor will send them a Scholarship Application along with the other enrollment materials. The applicant is required to submit a copy of their most recent 1040 tax return along with the completed Scholarship Application. The average scholarship is 15-30% off of the posted fee. If the applicant receives an Outward Bound scholarship but it’s not enough for them to participate, Outward Bound will refund their $500 deposit, including the $150 enrollment processing fee.

In some cases, applicants can schedule a payment plan with the Voyageur Outward Bound School rather than paying for the whole course in one lump sum. In cases of payment plans, final balances are due at least 90 days prior to the course-start.

Packing for a Voyageur Outward Bound School course

In general, Outward Bound provides sleeping bags, sleeping mats, rain gear, and all group cooking, camping and traveling equipment. Students need to provide their own clothing, footwear, toiletries and a few other items, like a headlamp and water bottle.

Traveling to and from the Voyageur Outward Bound School

MN Courses:  In most cases, but not all, Voyageur Outward Bound School students meet in the Duluth International Airport baggage claim at 1:00 PM on the first day of the course. Students typically return to the Duluth International Airport around 11:30 AM on the last day of the course and should plan to fly out any time after 1:00 PM to account for check-in and security clearance.

TX Courses:  In most cases, but not all, Voyageur Outward Bound School students arrive in El Paso, TX the day before their course officially begins.  Students spend the night in a local hotel (not included in course-cost) as directed by their Course Advisor. Students typically return to the El Paso International Airport around 1:00 PM on the last day of the course and should plan to fly out any time after 2:00 PM to account for check-in and security clearance.

Explicit travel directions will be shared with you after you enroll on a course.  Students should refrain from making travel plans prior to being approved for their course and receiving travel details for their specific course as the exact details may differ slightly from the directions listed above.

Please submit the Course Inquiry form or call (828) 239-2376 to discuss if this course is right for you.

Dog Sledding & Cross Country Skiing – 8 Day

Dates Days Age Tuition Course #
12.27.16 – 1.3.17 8 18+ $2025 VMAD-627
1.5.17 – 1.12.17 8 18+ $1925 VMAD-721
3.4.17 – 3.11.17 8 18+ $1925 VMAD-722
3.18.17 – 3.25.17 8 18+ $1925 VMAD-723
12.27.17 – 1.3.18 8 18+ $2025 VMAD-724
Dog Sledding & Cross Country Skiing – 8 Day Adult Renewal

Dates Days Age Tuition Course #
12.27.16 – 1.3.17 8 30+ $2025 VMRD-624
1.14.17 – 1.21.17 8 30+ $1925 VMRD-721
2.11.17 – 2.18.17 8 30+ $1925 VMRD-722
3.11.17 – 3.18.17 8 45+ $1925 VMRD-723
12.27.17 – 1.3.18 8 30+ $2025 VMRD-724
Dog Sledding & Cross Country Skiing – 10 Day

Dates Days Age Tuition Course #
2.9.17 – 2.18.17 10 18+ $2250 VMAD-731
Dog Sledding & Cross Country Skiing – 22 Day

Dates Days Age Tuition Course #

Spots fill quickly! Reserve a spot and speak with a Course Advisor.

Dog Sledding & Cross Country Skiing for Adults Inquiry

Applicant Information


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