At Huskyland the dogs come first, not like the family dog - but as a family of dogs. Huskyland is created by the fascination of sleddog mushing.
Huskyland offers you the chance to try the sport of sleddog and feel the fascination of driving your team of Huskies into the scenic nature of Passo del Tonale
We offer regular sleddog courses (with the dogs and sled on snow), huskytrekking (walking with one harnessed and sleddog events to: Individuals, families, groups and companies. The Scuola Italiana Sleddog - Huskyland is open all year long.
Why are we all here at Passo Tonale - and why do we stay here all year? Because sleddog is a wonderful sport. We love it - and we hope, you'll love it too.
At Huskyland the dogs work hard for you. Will you look these dogs in the eyes and say: Yes I'll work hard for you - and your team mates?
“To me and the dogs it’s an adventure every time we go out on the trail," says Armen Khatchikian, Director of Huskyland.
"I first met the huskies in a canoe in Alaska. After a long training period under the guidance of Joe Reddington and finishing The Iditarod Race, I founded this place with the help of my dogs, my family, friends, sponsors and the local communities of Ponte di Legno and Passo Tonale as the first Italian sleddog school in 1985. Huskyland has been the home for me and my 45 huskies ever since.
"The more I know about mushing Huskies - the greater my respect for the dogs. They are rarely mistaken."
Huskyland is your key to a fascinating sport and many adventures in the company of man’s best friend..
We'll let the real experts show you around our home - Huskyland.
Click on the dogs!
Sleddog is a fascinating way to combine the love of sport, dogs and nature. And as with any other sport there is a lot to learn.
From the first run - then more advanced courses, to qualified musher.
Generally we take the dogs out in the morning and in the afternoon. But the conditions of the snow, the sun, the trail, the dogs and you are all part of the final planning and the basis of your sleddog adventure.
Your choice of courses:
1. First Run:
A short introduction and your first excursion with the dogs. 2-2½ hours.
2. White week:
Monday to thursday every morning from about 10am to 1pm.
3. Full weekend:
Three days of full immersion from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.
4. Two weekends:
Morning and afternoon of two Saturdays.
5. Musher Class:
Individual lessons can be arranged according to the schedule of the Italian Sleddog School / Huskyland.
Dogsledding is a fascinating way to combine the love for sports, dogs and nature. And as in every other sport there are a lot to learn.
From the first run then more advanced courses for qualified musher.
The Italian School Sleddog - Huskyland is open all year. We offer regular sleddog courses (with dogs and sled on snow) and husky trekking (walking with a harnessed dog). The activities are organized directly with the instructors of the school staff and Armen Khatchikian.
Generally we take the dogs in the morning and in the afternoon. But the conditions of the snow, the sun, the trail, the dogs and you are all part of the final design and the base of your dog sledding adventure.
The lessons in the first run are usually begin with a chat about the place and dogs. Then we go along with a little 'theory, and you can try the sled, no dogs.
After this we use the dogs, and then we go out into the surrounding nature - each person with a team of 2 - 3 dogs in front of a sled and with the teacher in front of the group.
This is the real adventure of teamwork. During the race most people learn a lot of dogs, the sport and themselves too.
When we got home, there will be water and snacks dogs and will bring them back to their homes. When this work is done, all of us sit down and talk about the experience, the sport and the life we are living.
A lesson usually lasts for 2-3 hour prior to departure at the end (as the dogs, the route, the time, the master and you).
To be a family is being a team. Sleddog is teamwork. Everyone needs to know their own specific tasks.
Our First Run for families, has been highly appreciated by our customers and by our teachers.
Seeing your family mushing sleddog in a line is unforgettable for all of you.
Groups are sleddog made very easy. The instructions are more general and the time on the sled is limited too. However the feeling and vision of rushing through the forest and into the open land, will still be part of the experience.
The group will be split into small groups with different activities for the waiting groups,such as snowshoeing.
Companies we provide special care. Sleddog is teamwork. Everyone needs to know their own specific task.
The sleddog part will often be like in Groups, but the context, time and purpose are adjustable to your wishes.
Sleddog is a lot of hard work and a sport. Who gives up and who hangs on when they have to learn something new - and when the trail gets tough?
The more you know about sleddog, the more convinced you become: Sleddogging is a mind game too.
It started out as a summer holiday dream in 1983 - and a bit of luck in 1984. Since then it has mostly been hard work - along with very best friends - and some fabulous adventures.
Having a lot of sleddogs is
a way of living - every day.
History of Sleddog
Artifacts found within the Inuit people's areas confirm that the Inuit people, along with their sledges and dogs originated from Siberia. Remains have been found in the New Siberian Islands that have been carbon dated to around 7000 BC, non carbon dated artifacts indicate that the use of sleddogs goes even further back.
The Vikings were the first Europeans to become aware of dogs used as a means of transportation. Later on the early whalers, explorers and fur traders in Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland learned dog-sledding skills from the native Inuit people.
In wintertime the sled and the dogs was the only way to go when hunting, exploring and traveling in the Arctic region.
The ultimate achievement by man and dogs must be Ammundsen's discovery of the South Pole. If the picture is true – the dogs came first!
Locally, dogs were used to pull the supplies for the soldiers guarding Passo Tonale in World War 1.
In 1925 it was the dogs that saved the children of Nome, Alaska – by bringing the needed serum to fight an epidemic in the isolated town. This was world news - and a legend was born.
The US-mail used sleddog teams to deliver mail until 1963.
Although the dogs can take you to places that no snowmobile will ever reach; but as general transportation, the use of sledges has decreased over the last 60 years.
In the 1950s and 60s sleddogs were replaced by motorized vehicles. It was a big cultural change all over the arctic region.
In the 1960s and 70s sleddog returned as a sport in Canada, Alaska and Europe.
In 1983 Armen and his friend Tomas canoed 3300 km on the Yukon River - from its spring to the Bering Sea. On this trip they learned about sleddog and for the first time they heard about The Iditarod Race.
The Iditarod Race is also called the last great race on earth. From Anchorage over the Alaska Range to the old gold-mining town Nome - 1049 miles through the wildernes of Alaska. One human, one sledge and 16 well trained dogs.
On the canoe trip Armen heard about this race - and dreamed of participating. With the help of his brother, a bit of luck, the beginning of a long friendship with Mike Bongiorno from Italian TV Canale 5 - and Stock 84 - Armen won the money to fullfill his dream.
Joe Redington, one of the 3 founders of the Iditarod, took Armen "under his wing", and taught him what it takes to participate and complete a long distance race.
Armen participated the Iditarod Race in 1984, 1985 & 1986.
In '84 he finished the race as no. 40, but was disqualified, because his brother handed him a bowl, so he had not handled the dogs completely alone! The following year he broke his shoulder on the second day, and in '86 he finished as no. 44 out of 61.
Iditarod 1979 - by BBC
Official Route Map
Winning and being among the best is always fun, but Iditarod Mushers know, that arriving in None is a win.
Armen Khatchikian wrote about some of his experiences:
Summertime is quieter at Huskyland. Dog-trekking and puppy training are the favorite activities, but of course there are still many things to do in the dog lot - and around the house - after a long winter.
Photo by Ettore
By Marco Fattorusso and Sandro Filipinos:
The Khatchikian brothers, pioneers of dogsledding in Italy, now propose a new initiative for boys and girls who want to get into the sport accompanied by 15 sleddogs on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale.
Summer camp on the Presena Glacier
In June we organise a summer camp on the Presena Glacier with 3-4 day courses in alpine sports - including sleddog, and canoeing on the glacier lake - supervised by Alpine Guides and Huskyland Staff.
Love of dogs
We say that the dog is man's best friend. A good family dog is bred, trained and appreciated for its ability to be - a good family dog. It 'the same with sled dogs: they are bred, trained and valued for their ability to be - good sled dogs.
A Huskyland we mainly Alaskan Huskies. The breeding of these dogs has gone on for thousands of years. Dogs were chosen for their strength, endurance, speed and obedience; not because they are rather looking for or within a standard. modern fashion and Kennel associations focus mainly on the dog's eyes. Alaskan Huskies are the village dogs - not purebred - Mushers appreciate the skills of the individual dog - and breed accordingly.
Huskies are not pets, but working dogs and teammates. Sleddogs are valued by the work they do, not for how they look. They are all fine, when you get to know them. They have just as many characters as individuals, and we must all work together in a team in difficult conditions; and we all have to get home safely.
How does the work so does the choice of dogs. In the past it was important to have strong and enduring dogs, so they could pull more weight over a greater distance. Today Dog Sledding is a sport divided into categories of distances and number of dogs. The dogs are selected and trained for racing categories. Race means being fast and without making mistakes.
As the whip in the ancient pictures is abandoned in the modern sport, mushers train and race for speed and obedience - but every team is a collection of dogs with different abilities and personalities.
The sled dog teams are put together with great care. Put together a team of sled dogs it involves putting together a team of lead dogs, swing dogs and wheel dogs. The lead dogs are prized because they set the speed and direction.
The Love of Dogs
Many people love dogs, and most dogs love their master. The relationship with dogs is often described as man's best friend, because it quickly becomes personal. It's the meeting of two individuals with different minds, abilities and intentions, but communicating in an emotional way, that we usually spare for our loved ones.
Huskyland is based on the relationship between Armen Khatchikian and his dogs after finishing The Iditarod Race in 1984. He couldn't stay in Alaska - and he could not leave his dogs behind. So he left his car and brought back the dogs to Italy, and started to teach sleddog
Scuola Italiana Sleddog
Via Case Sparse del Tonale 10
25056 Ponte di Legno (BS)
Phone and fax:
(+39) 0364 92231
If you have your own dog, please don't bring it when you visit our home, Huskyland.
We know every living creature in sight of the house. At least half of us will start barking, and we'll continue, as long as another dog is in sight.
So please keep your lovely dog out of sight and do come and visit. We will greet you – shortly. Listen
How to get here:
Huskyland is situated 2 kms west of Passo del Tonale towards Ponte di Legno. One km along the road from Tonale, the SS42 takes a long bend, then passes a ski trail followed by a sharp left bend at the parking lot by the ski lift. Pass Hotel Bezzi and Hotel Alpino on your right. Continue downwards and park on the right, 50m from the roadhouse. Walk a little way up to the house and then start walking down the last 200m after the end of the road fence. Take care when crossing the road, walking downhill and crossing the ski trail.
Please call us before your arrival.
We are ready - Are You?
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(+39) 0364 92231
Having many dogs means a lot of hard work. Dogs first - office second.
We will however get back to you - maybe in a day or up to a week, so please help us by clearly stating your contact details - and add your telephone number to your e-mail.
From the Glacier to the lake.
Advantix running '15
Presentation of Huskyland
Adamello Ski presented our 25th anniversary this way.
Sleddog in Val di Sole
Presentazione della scuola di Armen Khatchikian a Ponte di Legno (Bs), vicino al Passo del Tonale.
Sleddog @ Passo del Tonale
Serbian National Television March 2015
The weather in Passo Tonale can change quickly. We don't like to take risks with the dogs - nor with you.
Please call us in the evening or in the morning before coming.
Half a meter of snow during the night might change the agenda of the day.
Sleddog is a sport, and as such, it is a physical challenge. However - if you have no known heart or lung diseases, or old injuries - you'll enjoy working hard, together with the dogs.
Children (accompanied by their parents) have to be at least 130 cm tall and weigh more than 30 kg to have a sled on their own...
Who are we
We proudly present our dear sponsors.
Without their help our daily life would be very different.
Fra le nevi con 44 cani. Cosi ritrovo me stesso. Gazzetta dello Sport Lombardia. 24.03.14 (PDF)
Avventura Sport Estate (PDF)
L’altra neve: tutto quello che si può provare in montagna oltre lo sci - Corriere Della Sera Sport