Lapland Stories and Tips

Husky Dog Sledding

View of the huskies from our sled Photo, Lapland, Finland

We spent a great day at Wingrens Dog Safari in Kongas, 15 minutes drive from Levi. We booked the experience through our tour operator - Inghams - when we got to Levi, but it is possible to organise this independently. The safari, plus the coach ride there and back cost £85 for adults and £41 for children under 12 years old.

It is really thrilling as you venture into the countryside with a team of huskies, over a frozen lake through dense forest with everything carpeted in a white blanket of powdery snow.

When we arrived, we were met from the coach by the dogs' owner Maria. She owns and operates the kennels and has 95 racing huskies, who are trained to follow a 6 mile trail through the forest and across the lake. She speaks fluent English.

No previous experience is needed to drive the sled. Maria gave us a demonstration of how to stand and balance and steer. She also told us safety information. You do need to make sure you are dressed really warmly, with lots of layers and thermals. The temperature as you travel through the forest and across the frozen lake is perishing. You also need to cover every bit of exposed skin on your face to make it a more pleasurable experience.

In the Arctic regions sled dogs have been used for hundreds of years, traditionally as the means of transportation in the frozen wilderness. At these kennels they use both Siberian and Alaskan huskies.

We had 6 dogs pulling our sled - myself and our son sat on the sled and my husband stood at the back and drove. The dogs worked really hard, but did seem to love running and working. The noise they made before we started and their enthuasism to get going was remarkable.

It is a lovely feeling on the sled - everywhere is white and really silent - you feel like there is no-one else on earth.

A guide on a snowmobile is around during the safari, to make sure everything is going as it should. He also stops you at the half way point so you can change drivers, if you wish to do so.

On our safari the huskies worked hard, but apparently did not travel as fast as is normal. There had been fresh snow falling all morning, apparently this slows them down as it is harder to build up speed.

Our safari lasted half an hour. We were then taken back to a traditional Finnish kota or wooden hut with a blazing fire in the centre. We were given hot drinks and sausages which we cooked over the fire. This was the perfect way to warm up again.

Afterwards we had about 15 minutes to wander and look at the dogs. The working dogs are all kept behind a fence - each has its own kennel with its name on. We also saw and got to hold a 2 month old husky puppy - this for our 6 year old was the perfect end to a wonderful experience.

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