Tandem sledding on Big Trout Lake
Newsletter Vol. 1 Issue 1
Spring 2009


Welcome friends and sponsors of SUOMI HILLS KENNEL. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to every one that has been so supportive of SUOMI HILLS KENNEL over these past eight years. Yes, SUOMI HILLS TRAIL NOTES is eight years old. I hope that we find all of you happy and in good health.

Due to the cost of printing and postage this newsletter will now only be available on the internet; I hope this change is not too inconvenient. If you would like SUOMI HILLS TRAIL NOTES emailed to your inbox please email me your address. I hope that sponsors continue to support SUOMI HILLS KENNEL. Business sponsors will still receive advertisements in the newsletter and on the website. For more information on becoming a sponsor please see below.

This winter was wonderful and busy for us at Suomi Hills Kennel. We shared the joys of dog sledding with eighteen large groups and forty small groups. I hope every one had as much fun as we did. The dogs and I are soon going to be leaving for Juneau, Alaska for our summer job. There we will be working for Gold Rush Dog Tours giving cart rides to the cruise ship passengers visiting Alaska.

Since we have spent the last five years working on the glacier this will be a bit of a change for us. We are looking forward to it. If you have the opportunity to visit us this summer at Gold Rush in Alaska it would be great, otherwise we hope to see you next winter in Minnesota. And if you want a sneak peek at what dog carting is about, we have a very short video on the website that shows how the dogs pull the cart. It’s a new, fun way to enjoy winter without much wintry snow!

Happy Trails to You, Joel


Did you know that England has a sled dog club? Did you know that South Africa has sled dog races? In fact sled dog sports are practiced in many places around the world that you might not expect and that never get snow. More locally Brainerd, Minnesota, has been hosting dryland races (sled dogs pulling carts) for several years now. Sled dog sports include many variations of the sport, including dog carting.

This past winter, we had the opportunity to introduce two different groups and hundreds of people to dog carting. On these two days due to a lack of snow, dog sledding was not an option. The cart saved the day for a private party at the Woodhill Country Club and the Dog Sled Days at the Wildlife Science Center.

Last fall I brought a cart back from Alaska. I believe it is probably the only one like it in Minnesota. In Minnesota, my main reason for having the cart is for those times when we don’t have enough snow to safely use the sled. The private party at the Woodhill Country Club was scheduled before we got enough snow for sledding. The Dog Sled Days happened just after the rain took away almost all of our snow. The important thing is we were able to share the dogs and the magic with our happy guests.
Dog Carting
This summer the dogs and I will be carting on a daily basis. We will be working for Gold Rush Dog Tours in Juneau, Alaska. Gold Rush is one of the many companies to provide shore excursions to the cruise ship passengers that visit there. With the cruise ship business in Alaska, dog carting is another option for those who want to save a little money or don’t like the thought of taking a helicopter ride to the glacier but would still like to experience sled dogs.

Some people feel that dog sledding without snow and a sled is just not the real thing. I disagree! The magic of the dogs is still there. Whether they are pulling a sled or a cart is insignificant. There are some benefits to carting. Safety and control are two big ones. Due to the weight and design of the cart it is very controllable. Though we don’t like to see it happen and do everything we can to prevent it, the sled sometimes tips over or runs into a tree. The cart is almost impossible to tip over and is equipped with brakes and a steering wheel which make it very easy to avoid running into stationary objects. It seats up to eight passengers so can accommodate a lot of people. The cart requires a large team and a relatively flat smooth trail. I think dog carting is just as much fun if not more so than sledding. From now on a lack of snow will not ruin winter for us.

Sky likes to relax


Sky is the off-spring of Coral and Curly. She is predominately white and weighs in just under fifty pounds. Sky has produced one litter of puppies from which I have Tonga and Willow in my kennel.

Sky is a very easy going mellow dog. She very much likes attention from the human species but won’t pester you and jump on you like some dogs do to get that attention. When working in the team, if we stop for a second she will flop right down on the snow and make it look like she is totally beat, but as soon is I give the command she is on her feet and raring to go again. Sky is not a real speed demon, but now at the age of seven she has worked her way up to being one of my most reliable leaders. Her leading skills I believe are more valuable than speed. Sky has begun to help me train in new leaders and in the years to come I expect her to make several new leaders for me.

Become a Suomi Hills Kennel Sponsor!

For only a small annual contribution you can be part of this kennel. You can help socialize puppies. You can ride the second sled on a training run. Perhaps you’d like to organize a sled dog party with sled dog rides and/or a hands-on presentation. To become a sponsor simply fill out the sponsorship form and mail it with your check.

Beargrease Sponsor - $250
Kennel Tour, Newsletter, 5 Mile Ride, Advertisement In Trail Notes Newsletter, Business Name On Dog Truck

Yukon Quest Sponsor - $500
Kennel Tour, Newsletter, Group Rides and/or Presentation, Advertisement In Trail Notes Newsletter, Business Name On Dog Truck

Iditarod Sponsor - $1000
Kennel Tour, Newsletter, 5 Mile Ride, Group Rides and/or Presentation, Advertisement In Trail Notes Newsletter, Business Name On Dog Truck

Puppy Sponsor - $25
Kennel Tour and Newsletter

Wheel Dog Sponsor - $50
Kennel Tour, Newsletter, Half Mile Ride

Lead Dog Sponsor - $100
Kennel Tour, Newsletter, 5 Mile Ride


Sponsor Level: _________________________________

Name: _______________________________________

Address: ______________________________________

City, State, Zip: ________________________________

Phone Number: ________________________________

Make checks payable to: Joel Kersting – Suomi Hills Kennel
Mail payment with completed sponsorship form to:
Joel Kersting, Suomi Hills Kennel, 37515 Orange Lake Rd, Deer River MN 56636.
For questions, call 218-244-1265.

Gift certificates are also available!
Thank you for being a Suomi Hills Kennel Sponsor!

To download a PDF format click here

Past Newsletters: Fall 2008