Luna Lobos will tug hearts and harnesses
Fernando Ramirez’s passion for dog sledding began as a child when he tied his yellow lab to an up-turned plastic table after watching the animated film, "Balto."
He was probably only one of thousands of children to try something similar after seeing one of the many popular dog-sledding movies, but Ramirez didn’t stop there.
He eventually attached skis to the bottom of the table and kept upgrading his equipment until finally, as a teenager, his parents succumbed and purchased him an authentic dog sled and two huskies.
But Ramirez only uses rescued animals. Sled dogs make horrible pets because they need intense exercise and a specific diet that most homeowners can’t provide.
"They have gourmet meals in the mornings: steak, chicken, cucumber salad they love rice," he explained.
Unfortunately, there are many such animals needing rescue, he said. Two of his dogs are hybrids, but perform just as well as the purebreds.
With his pack that now numbers 12 and his sleds Ramirez started Luna Lobos to give rides and one-of-a-kind experiences to locals and visitors during winter and summer (the warm-weather sled has wheels).
An important element of his business is educating people about sled dogs and the kind of lives they should lead.
Ramirez has a special affinity for long-haul races. He’s a Brooks-sponsored marathon runner and has been in numerous sled races around the Mountain West.
The peace, solitude and primitive nature of sledding are a truly special experience, he said.
"My motto is ‘travel silent,’" he said. "It’s Zen."
Co-owner Dana Ramirez said the rides are like traveling back in time.
"It really puts you in nature," she said.
Each dog has its own personality both on and off the trail. Watching them run together and the way they encourage or correct one another is amazing, he said. The more riders cheer and laugh the harder they pull.
"It’s like having 12 kids," Ramirez added.
Sharing these insights with clients is important for him. It’s not about meeting up and being done at a certain time, he said. His goal is to help people do something they have probably never done before and likely will never do again.
And there’s no more convenient place to try dog sledding than Park City, he said. Outfits in places like North Dakota, Montana or Alaska aren’t going to be close to world-class ski resorts, hotels and restaurants, he said.
In fact, there’s so much to do in Park City creating package deals is a major priority for Luna Lobos, he said. He likes to be the mode of transportation to a night at the movies, bowling or a nice dinner.
There’s so much Ramirez would like to share with people that he’s starting four-day dog sledding summer camps this June and July. He plans to introduce youth to what it takes to care for and train a sled dog.
Each participant will be assigned to an animal and will learn real sledding technique. Local trails provide great running experiences in summer or winter, he said.
"We hope people will have more compassion for animals in shelters afterward," Dana added.
A bonus this year will be the participation of brand-new puppies. Ramirez’s two lead dogs bred and the husky pups could be born as early as this week.
Luna Lobos Dog Sledding
Sign up for a summer camp by May 31 for half off
View Luna Lobos in a larger map
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User