The Ropes Introduction



Nomadic peoples who live in inland areas below the tree line use a toboggan-style sled for dogsledding. This is, for example, the traditional sled for the Gwich’in people in the southern end of the GoNorth! adventure learning expedition route in 2006 through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. A true toboggan has a smooth bottom surface (constructed with suspended caribou hides) and no runners. This construction allows the sled to ride on top of deeper snow. The dogs are then hitched in single lines or in pairs (tandem) to enable maneuvering in the trees and narrow country.




The Inuit people, such as the Kalaallit in Greenland where Team GoNorth! is traveling in 2010, live on the coast of the ocean, and travel on the sea ice or ice cap and in wide-open spaces. Their traditional sled, qamutiit (other places in the Arctic also referred to as komatik or qamutik), is a much larger, broader sled, designed to carry seals, walrus, and polar bear. These sleds glide fast on high runners (skis) over sea ice and hard-packed surfaces with little snow, easily clearing pushed-up ice on the ocean and rocks on the tundra.