DENVER (CBS4) – If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to participate in Alaska’s Iditarod, you don’t have to go too far from Denver to get an idea.

The Iditarod is an annual 1,000 mile race where sledders traverse rugged terrain pulled by a team of huskies through the sometimes harsh and variable climate of Alaska.

While the race typically begins in Anchorage, this year it was forced several hundred miles north to Fairbanks, due to a lack of snow.

Thankfully, a lack of snow has not been a problem this season for the mountains of north-central Colorado.

Snow Mountain Ranch, just off U.S. 40 between Fraser and Granby, offers dog sledding much closer to home.

(credit: Rob McClure)

CBS4’s Justin McHeffey experiences dog sledding at Snow Mountain Ranch (credit: Rob McClure)

According to their website the last day for sledding this season will be April 4.

Beginners can take a 2-mile trail through an open meadow with gorgeous views of the mountains.

Advanced riders can take a 5-mile course deep into the woods filled with steep inclines and sharp turns.

(credit: Rob McClure)

(credit: Rob McClure)

While the overall experience is very similar to the Iditarod, there are a few subtle differences.

(credit: CBS)

Dog sledding at Snow Mountain Ranch (credit: CBS)

The sleds are a bit larger and there aren’t quite as many huskies used to pull sledders along the trails.

(credit: Rob McClure)

(credit: Rob McClure)

Snow Mountain Ranch has 19 huskies, 3 of which are puppies.

Meteorologist Chris Spears writes about stories related to weather and climate in Colorado. Check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.

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