This was very high on my wish list for Rovaniemi, and boy – it did not disappoint!
We arrived at the Northern Gate Safaris husky farm and were immediately welcomed with the sound of playful barking. Our huskies were geared up and ready for us to join them on a sled ride through the Finnish wilderness!
After a quick safety briefing, we walked over to our teams that were lined up and waiting. Some dogs lay in the snow, relaxing before our adventure – and others were jumping and barking like impatient children. It was such an exciting prelude to our ride.
We paired up into groups of two, one person sat in the sled while the other drives and then at the halfway mark, we got to swap. We had a team of six huskies pulling us through the trails, although apparently only two are needed for the weight they were carrying, which meant it made the ride easier on them.
The dogs had a very strong work ethic, with the leaders being the smartest and most motivated of the group, while the strongest dogs were stationed closest to the sled. You can tell that these dogs were born to run, and loved to run fast!
You didn’t need to do much while riding the sled apart from manage the brakes. I remember giggling each time I had to ease on the brakes as the dogs would turn around almost to give a dirty look, as if to say ‘they had it all covered’. As long as they are running, they aren’t likely to get bored or distracted.
I’ve been husky sledding before in New Zealand so I was expecting the tour to be quite similar, although this wasn’t the case. The energy that was buzzing on this trip was incredible and really boosted the adrenaline throughout the ride. What made this trip so different was that we had a group of ‘chasers’ riding snowmobiles alongside us to make sure everyone was safe and to help direct us around corners or slopes. Watching the guys maneuver the snowmobiles was a show of its own! They would speed around the back trails and pop out at random points along the journey.
After our 10km journey through the snowy trails, we got to meet our huskies. Just like humans, each dog had their own unique characteristics and personality. Some of them had ice-blue eyes, while some had brown and others even had a mix! There was a combination of Siberian and Alaskan huskies amongst the group, each just as beautiful as the next.
There are over 300 dogs on the farm, each with their own kennel and name tag on a nearby tree.
Among the dogs were some younger puppies, as well as the self-appointed ‘retirees’. Apparently the huskies choose the day they want to stop working and the staff respect that which was great to learn. I was also surprised to find out that most of the husky guides know each of the 300+ dogs by name.
We then headed inside to warm up by a roaring fire and were offered hot berry juice and ginger cookies to refuel. It was a good opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the huskies and how things work on the farm.
It was snowing on the day which made for a fairytale-like scene! This did however mean that it was quite cold, so bring a scarf to wrap around your neck and face. I also wore my SunGod ‘adventure-proof’ sunnies which really help protect the wind from my eyes and the polarized lenses make everything look 100x better!
The guides, huskies and well-run operation helped make for the most amazing day adventuring through Finnish Lapland.
If this trip interests you, I visited with Lapland Safaris and they offer a number of husky tours of different lengths. They have a great schedule which shows what times and days certain activities are on so really helps plan your stay in Rovaniemi.