The sensation of having the wind rush past your hair while being pulled across the snow by a team of huskies is a truly unforgettable experience. However, if you are unprepared you might tarnish the experience a little. We have put together a list of the top 5 tips to ensure you have the best time possible.
Often overlooked, but let’s not forget that as full of energy and enthusiasm as husky dogs are, they do tire. You’ll need to assist at times and work as a team, especially if there is an incline. You don’t need to be an iron man shape by any means! Just consider the heavier you are, the more you’ll need to pitch in.
It’s essential to have appropriate shoes that will keep your feet warm and dry. Your footwear shouldn’t be too wide as it will hamper your ability to stay on the sled, especially when the dogs set off. Wide moon boots, for example, although warm, won’t work, but Timberland or hiking boots with thick socks will. A warm, windproof jacket, scarf, and googles (or sunglasses) to protect you from the wind are a winning combination. That said, it’s actually your hands that are most likely to get cold so it’s a good idea to have inners for your gloves to add that extra warmth. In regions where the temperatures are extreme, such as Scandinavia, professional equipment including footwear is essential and will be provided. Last time we visited Finland it was -32 degrees Celsius plus the wind chill!
Husky sledding in Lapland, Finland on our research trip
You’ll need good balance while driving a team of huskies as the sleds are essentially steered by leaning. So if you’re taking a tight corner, if you don’t want to lose too much speed by braking, then be prepared to lean into the turn to avoid tipping over. You’ll also need to be alert and prepared whenever you start moving as the dogs are always in a hurry to go anywhere!
Everyone wants photos to remember their husky sledding experience. We can tell you from experience that extremely cold temperatures and electronics don’t generally mix well. Phones and cameras will switch off if they get too cold, robbing you of the opportunity of catching a perfect shot. Keep the phone or camera warm and it will increase the time you have before it shuts down due to the cold. Once the phone or camera has thawed it should work once again with no lasting damage.
Although it’s never happened on our watch (touch wood), husky sledding isn’t without its risks. Accidents do happen – just ask any insurance company. So double-check with your insurance company you are covered as it’s one of those activities that generally isn’t included in standard packages. All our partners have the necessary and appropriate insurance but for a few extra quid, it’s worth it just for peace of mind.
If you are interested in experiencing driving a team of huskies then Untravelled Paths has a number of trips where this is possible. Check out the Husky Experience in Slovenia, our new Winter Transylvania Experience in Romania, the Northern Lights Experience in Svalbard, and The Glass Igloo Experience. Also look out for our soon to be re-released Lapland Experience in Finland.