Dog sledding in Swedish Lapland

Dog sledding was something I’ve always wanted to do. When we went to Iceland the first time, we hesitated booking a dog sledding our, but due to the high price, we thought that it would be for another time… I was a bit sad at that time but it was really expensive. We finally did it during this winter holiday spent in Kiruna, a town situated in the heart of the Swedish Lapland. Kiruna is located 145 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, and at that time of the year, the amount of daylight is very limited. When we were there, the sun rose around 11 am and set around 1 pm… Therefore, we booked a late morning tour to use the natural daylight as much as possible with a local guide through Kiruna Nature Tours. Mikael Forsen is a local and he has been doing it for more than 10 years. He knows how it works and he knows his dogs. He is living with them.This is the major difference compared with other companies in Kiruna that employ students from abroad who’ve never touched a dog before or driven a sled. We wanted a unique experience, with some local guide, that will respect the dogs and I think this company did the job. We truly recommend this company ! :-) The guide picked us up before driving towards our final destination where the dogs were waiting for us and the magic began ! A huge sled was strapped to a post, and we could hear howling and barking coming from a little truck. Our guide started to prepare the sled, and the dogs were really excited to get going.

We were dragged by 10 lovely dogs over snow and ice in the forest and it was simply beautiful ! Since there were only two of us, the sled went very fast and we finished the tour in less than 3 hours. It was bloody freezing but awesome !

We took a break near a traditional Lappish teepee to have some tea and sandwich, in front of an open fire. It was freezing that day, around -25°C so the fire was very welcomed (there is some frost on most of my pictures, especially the last ones, as my camera was completely frozen) ! As soon as we stopped, the dogs were rolling themselves in the snow to cool off, that was very strange. We took some pictures and pet them a bit. The dogs were so friendly. The guide’s children are used to play with them so it was very nice to pet them, they were really playful. Some of his dogs were 15 years old but were doing well.

We went back to the car, as the sun was starting to set. What a nice day !

I wish all of you a Happy New Year 2015 ! :-)

 

My Travel Monkey
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93 responses to “Dog sledding in Swedish Lapland

  1. Love this, I have always wanted to go dog-sledding! I love how even there, you could go to the teepee and have tea and sandwiches! Brilliant! Thanks so much for linking up with #MondayEscapes

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  2. Pingback: Exploring Kiruna, in the heart of Swedish Lapland | Darwin on the rocks and around the world·

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  5. Before I forget, how did you come up with Darwin on the Rocks?
    Your trip looked like fun! I have only gone dog sledding once in Canmore, Alberta. It was bitterly cold and there was not much snow since it was the beginning of the season. And yes, it was expensive, too! I would love to go again. I had my eye on an Outward Bound course in deep Ontario that was, I think, a 5-day dog-sledding course where you have your own team and learn to drive and take care of them. I dont know if the course is still run and with a baby now, that is not going to happen anytime soon, but it is still a dream of mine!

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    • Being a musher for several days, taking care of the dogs and driving must be an amazing experience. Maybe in a few years you will be able to consider it :-) When you think about the amount of food required (1 kg of meat per day for each dog), you can understand why it is so expensive. Here, for 3-4 hours it was a bit less than 100 euros, which I find it still reasonable. If I have the chance, I would like to do something similar in Alaska.

      As for Darwin on the Rocks, well, I came up with this name in 2011 when I created my first blog dedicated to my volunteering in Galapagos island. Darwin, in reference to the evolutionary theory, because it’s where everything begins ;-) and on the rocks, because I had an iguana picture as header, and all of the iguana are laying on rocks over there.. so it ended up as Darwin on the rocks :D

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  6. This must be really fun. Would like to do a dog sleddig tour, too. I was never in wintertime in Northern Sweden. I guess I had to add it to my to-do-list. ;) Happy New Year!!! ;)

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    • sometimes, it’s good to be lucky when booking a tour, so many things can go wrong :-) We were glad to have chosen this company and the weather was not so bad. It wasn’t snowing, so we enjoyed the landscape :-)

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  7. Woooww thats amazing!!! I always wanted to do that too…. and now knowing that there are dog friendly companies out there makes me really happy! Sounds like such fun experience, and petting the dog would be my favorite part <3
    Oh my, only 2 hours of daylight? Crazy!!!

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  8. Fantastic pictures – it looks like a real winter wonderland. We did this in Finland – loved it but remember how freezing it was!! Unfortunately my pictures were terrible – nice to relive the experience through your post!!

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    • It was a real winter wonderland. the snow was fantastic, the weather was good and the dogs were so friendly and cute. Everything went so well ! I’ve read horrible experiences regarding dog sledding with inexperienced guide and I’m glad it didn’t happen to us. I took probably hundred of pictures, and half of them were blurred. It’s quite difficult to take good pictures to be honest. And when it’s cold, frost is building up on the lens, so it’s kind of blurry all the time. I’m glad you enjoyed this virtual tour :-)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s sort of a magical way to travel through the silence of the winter woods, isn’t it? In Alaska (where we are from) dog sledding (mushing) is very popular, but it is a light snow year this winter so it hasn’t been good for winter sports so far. It looks like you found a good guide with happy dogs. Nice.

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    • Yes, it was very magical. All we could here is the sled sliding onto the ice and sometime, the snow cracking a bit. The snow in Kiruna was better than last year according to the locals, it was very fresh and there was a lot of it. A lot of people were skiing as well and I heard them saying the snow was really good !

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  10. How exciting, my friend! It must have been an incredible adventure :)
    I also recommend you read some of Jack London’s books if you have time ;)
    Thanks for sharing – it makes me feel excited for 2015 :))
    Best wishes,
    Takami

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    • It is cold, but we were well prepared :-) We had good base layer, some down jacket and a waterproof jacket. And on top of it, overall provided by the tour company. The only places that felt cold were face and hands :-)

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  11. Really nice photos, documenting a unique experience. You’d be proud of me Gin … I’m traveling too! I’m in Switzerland, visiting my daughter and her husband. I don’t enjoy traveling as much as you do … so, can’t report that I’m having a wonderful time … and, that’s not because Switzerland isn’t a beautiful place … for, it certainly is. Happy New Year. D

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    • That is wonderful ! :-) On step at a time and you may start to like it, who knows ! :D

      Switzerland must also been amazing during the winter time with all the snow covering the trees. Maybe you can try to improve your travelling experience by experimenting with your camera :-) Shooting snowy landscapes can be a bit tricky but I’m sure you would handle it perfectly (and better than me :D)

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  12. My boyfriend lives in Aspen and they have dog sledding … we decided in could wait till next season but after seeing your pictures I can’t wait to book it !!

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    • You will see, it’s an amazing experience ! It is so cool to be dragged around by cute and friendly dogs :-) It’s cold, but it’s worth it ! Better to have appropriate clothing, but usually, the company gives you overall you can put over your clothes.

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  13. Absolutely beautiful photos Gin – especially in minus 25 degrees temperature you did an amazing job! The scenery looks like a fairytale winter wonderland and it sounds a very good company too who are local and know and respect their dogs well! This is an activity I’ve always thought would be wonderful to do too – I’ve seen it on travel shows before it must have been a dream come true! It would be so cold but worth it! Enjoy the rest of your trip and very best wishes for 2015! :)

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    • At one point, I was hit by a snowy branch (my fault, I forgot to protect my face with my hand.. it was a low hanging branch) and my face felt so so so cold ! I though I was going to be frostbitten. Thankfully I managed to wipe it down with my scarf. -25°c is very cold indeed :-)

      The prices were more reasonable here, around 100 euros for 3 to 4 hours (in Iceland, it was twice the price).

      It is also possible to do overnight trip or even a 3 to 4 day trip by dog sledding, and you can be the musher :-)

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    • It was a unique experience. I’m glad we did it. The dogs were so powerful, that was amazing and it looked like they were having a good time :-) I don’t know Jack London, do you love his books ?

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