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VIDEO: Dog sled season is near for Lancaster man

LANCASTER, Minn. -- Even before they don their sledding gear the pack of Alaskan Huskies can sense that it's time for a sled run. "When you go into the garage they know something is up," said Charlie Bernstrom. "And when they see the collars and ...

Charlie Bernstrom and his dogs
Photo from WDAZ.

LANCASTER, Minn. -- Even before they don their sledding gear the pack of Alaskan Huskies can sense that it's time for a sled run.

"When you go into the garage they know something is up," said Charlie Bernstrom. "And when they see the collars and harnesses they know exactly what is coming."

For him and his dogs, the return of winter temperatures means the return of a ritual that involves loading up the team of five huskies for a trek in and around this town of 330.

"You can go 4 to 6 miles, you could go 20 miles if you wanted," Bernstrom said.

It all began six years ago when his family bought a female Husky from a family friend. After Greta gave birth to a litter, Bernstrom became motivated to build a dog sled team.

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The family friend, who also ran dogs in Alaska, helped them get started.

"She had this equipment and then we just bought it from her," said Eileen Bernstrom, Charlie's mom. "So she just kind of gave Charlie the heads on what to use and how to do it."

"And I would just go around town and teach her that 'gee' is right and 'haw' is left," Charlie said.

He continued to teach those commands to the dogs added to the team, and he can do it without snow. The dogs are hooked up to pull a cart with wheels that carries Charlie just like he is on a sleigh on trails in the local park.

"It actually takes three to hook them up," Eileen said.

But once they are ready, steer clear.

"My brother rode it once in the park, and I met him half way and he had fallen off and was full of mud," Charlie said. "And he said, 'Never again I'm I doing that.'"

And that's just one of the reasons Charlie is the sole family musher.

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"I just do it because I like to be around the dogs, and see how much fun they are having," he said.

Charlie even had the dogs pull him and his bride from the church after his wedding last February.

He said he would like to race his dogs competitively one day. One day, he said, he'd like to pass that on to his pack.

"Once we have kids I would like to have them do it," he said.

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