Many people like the concept of a winter trip with a husky tour very much. In Europe, Scandinavia is the most logical place to do this. Do you dream of standing on a sled pulled on by a group of huskies? Don’t worry! In the meantime I have done 3 winter trips in Scandinavia with a husky tour, so I think I can call myself an expert. You can do a husky tour perfectly in Sweden, Finland, and to a slightly lesser extent Norway. You don’t have to go to the north of Scandinavia in winter. It may be equally good in Central Scandinavia, and even in some parts of southern Scandinavia. During the winter you can also do it in the Alps and some other mountains in Europe.
A husky tour is probably the number one reason why people book a winter trip. Sledging through the snowy forests of Scandinavia captures the imagination, but what is it really like in real life? It actually depends on many different factors.
How long does a husky tour take?
During my first winter trip the husky tours were a full day, during which we were allowed to take a lot of responsibility with the dogs. We were allowed to feed them, clean up the excrement and put the sled on our own. The parcour was also more challenging than during the other 2 trips. We did stay at the husky farm itself, so the dogs were actually always with us and were central throughout the trip.
During the other 2 trips it was rather a short trip of less than an hour, but a lot also depends on the weather conditions. We weren’t allowed to do much with the dogs. During the 2nd trip it was raining rather than snowing. Huskies are very resistant against the cold, but don’t like getting wet at all, so for the health of the dogs we only did a short tour. During the 3rd trip it was snowing, but before that it had not snowed for a long time (there was no snow at our accommodation). As a result, the surface was also not ideal for the dogs’ paws.
Don’t let this stop you from booking a winter trip in Scandinavia. It is very much possible that the conditions are ideal for making it a super fun trip. Moreover, the conditions must be extremely bad before the tour is cancelled. Normally you can mush at least a little while.
How do you drive a husky sleigh?
You don’t really have to do a lot. The dogs follow the first sled that is driven by a professional musher. Above all, you have to be careful that your sled doesn’t deviate from the track during a bend. To avoid this, you need to use your weight to move the sled a bit. So if the bend goes to the right, you have to tilt your weight a little to the left so as not to bump into a tree on the right side of the bend. The sled will automatically take the shortest path if you do nothing. If you have passengers with you, they can also help a little with this.
By the way, don’t worry too much about those bends. The speed is usually limited (max. 15 km/h) so you have plenty of time to anticipate. Before the tour starts, you will get a detailed and visual explanation of this. On descents, it can be a little more dangerous.
The dogs are controlled in Sweden by experienced mushers by the words “till vänster” and “till höger”. In English this means saying “to the left” and “to the right”, but normally you will not have to do this.
There’s also a brake. This brake is used when the sled stops for you, or also if your sled goes faster than the dogs (usually on descents). The cord should always be tight because otherwise you lose control and there is a good chance that you will go down in a corner. On descents this requires some concentration, but if you keep your head for a moment, not much can go wrong.
As you might notice, husky tours can vary a bit. If the husky tour during a winter trip is important to you, you better be well-informed. A good tip is to book at a husky farm. These sometimes also offer overnight stays. With most package holidays it will be more like my last 2 winter trips, but actually that’s perfectly okay. You’ll experience what it is, and whether it’s something for you. And of course you have a very nice memory of it. The price of an entire day trip will also be a lot more than a session of about 3 hours (including explanations etc.).
If you’ve never done an adventurous trip, maybe I can help you over the line with this article: Can you become an adventurous traveler yourself?
Below you will find 2 videos I have made after my last 2 winter trips. There is, of course, much more to see than just the huskies. If you’re interested in a winter trip, they’re perfect to get a good picture.