Dog sledding in the Arctic Circle, learning how to control a sled

The day before, we had decided to book an excursion for our last day in the Arctic Circle.  The way to really enjoy the resort is to take advantage of the excursion and you definitely need to be willing to spend the money for all the entertainment while you’re at Kakslauttanen.  If you aren’t willing to spend the money, then you will find yourself very bored during the time that you’re there.

Our excursion was dog sledding so we knew it would be the highlight of our day. We packed up our belongings and headed out to breakfast. You don’t need to book your breakfast time since it’s a buffet style continental breakfast with a Finnish twist so you can show up whenever you want.  Our breakfast was full of various types of fish, cheese, meats, and pastries.  Plus, they also had this amazing yellow honeydew that was so delicious.  I piled it on my plate and probably ate my weight in honeydew while we were eating breakfast.  I stayed away from the fermented fish because it’s not really my style but overall the food was really good.

After we finished breakfast, it was time for us to head out on our excursion.  The tour company came and picked up a small group from the lodge and took us out to where the dogs stay.  I came prepared with all these clothes to wear and my snow boats to make sure I would be nice and toasty for the sled ride.  Little did I know that they had full on snow suits that we could borrow along with snow boots.  We weren’t able to bring our purses and stuff with us to minimize the amount of excessive items in the sled and the weight.

When I finally finished bundling up and attempting figure out how to maneuver around in the oversized snow suit, we made our way out to the dogs. First we had to learn how to drive a sled.  They’re not excessively complicated but definitely we had to learn all the safety tips required for controlling the dog sled.  For example, if you’re sitting in the sled, keep all limbs inside of the sled which sounds obvious but it’s a good reminder. Otherwise, the dogs will lead the sled and you won’t need to guide them because they know where they are going.  If you decide to stop the sled, you need to immediately stomp on the brake but not even just stomp on it, but just place all of your body weight on it and quickly.  Along with that, if you’re going uphill with the dogs, you need to help them move up the hill. Along with that, if you start to take any sharper turns, you need to be prepared to shift your weight slightly to help guide the back of the sled.

From the training that takes about 3 minutes, you decide with your partner who gets to do the first half of the run in the sled and who controls.  Then you make your way over to dogs who are just as eager to see you as you are to see them.


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