WEST CHESTERFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Many local businesses have been affected by the lack of snow this year and it goes beyond ski shops and snow plows. 22News spoke to a woman who runs a very unique business who cleverly found a way to adapt to climate change and keep her business going.
Tucked on a plot in the woods in West Chesterfield, Marla Brodsky runs Hilltown Sleddogs. Marla keeps a friendly and incredibly trained pack of Alaskan Huskies, right now the number stands at 13. Marla’s business is not only unique but rare in these parts.
“Yeah, I’m really the only one around. Everyone moved North,” said Marla.
Many of her peers have moved North to find more snow. The current lack of snow makes it challenging to take clients out on sleds. Snow hooks are used as anchors, to keep the sled in place behind the energetic group of dogs.
“Right now, I can’t really plant a snow hook, so it’s not really safe for clients,” said Marla.
Like many businesses that rely on the snow, Marla had to learn how to adapt, “So how is it I am able to make money and be able to survive? It’s because I do sled dog camps.”
At the camps, kids learn how to care for the dogs and even get the chance to ride a racing rig, a dog sled on wheels. Marla also offers tours and hikes with the huskies, she says the dogs are often like therapy for campers and clients alike.
Marla gave a demonstration on what the dog sledding experience is like, even with the little snow cover. She clips the harnesses on the pups, lining them with the sled. Dogs are paired in two and respond to the commands of the musher before using their explosive energy to take off and pull the sled.
The experience is a howl and thanks to Marla’s entrepreneurial skills, the business can stay in Hampshire County.