Dog sledding is one of the most popular activities there are to do while in the Arctic. It’s just a great experience. You can book this activity at any agency in Tromsø and it’s a half day trip. I got picked up at 9am by a minibus at Scandic Ishavshotel by the harbour which was only a 10 minute walk from the hostel I was staying in.
It’s easy to do everything by foot in Tromsø and all the tour pickups are at the harbour.
Once arrived at the dog sledding center, the dogs were very enthusiastic, they like to be pet, they were howling of joy and to get the visitor’s attention.
Before going on the sled there was a small briefing about the dogs, how to steer a sled and what clothes to put on. I got a suit to protect me against the wind and boots.
My shoes and other stuff that I had with me like my jacket were not necessary and was stored in the lockers.
You need to be with two persons to do the dog sledding on these tours so I got teamed up with another person who was a solo traveler like me. He was from the Philippines and told me he already had some experience as it was not his first time on a dog sledding adventure. Alright somebody with experience how convenient for me, what could go wrong ? nothing right ?
Well, we had a little accident, not too bad as we had some luck. There was one moment when my partner who was steering the sled forgot to use the break at a certain point when the sled in front of us had stopped and ran right in to the person (girl) in front of us steering the sled. She fell down on her bottom, but with more speed we could have broken her leg, so one of the most important things in dog sledding is to keep a good distance with the sled in front of you and use the brakes at the right time for the dogs to slow down.
Cause it’s impressive how fast these dogs can run. When it goes a little bit uphill you are supposed to help the dogs a bit by helping pushing the sled up, but our dogs were so hyped up to run that they did it mostly by themselves without any help needed.
There was also a moment where one dog got a little bit frustrated when all the sleds were standing still. He attacked the dog next to him and in the struggle they all got strangled up in the ropes, but amazingly got very fast back in position again to continue the run. We had some crazy dogs, but they did a very good job
Every 15 minutes we made a stop to take in the beautiful scenery, the environment covered with snow, the view over the nearby lake and mountains. That was also the time to switch, now it was my time to steer and my partner to go sit on the sled.
When you steer you need to be focused on the dogs and no filming with the camera, that’s for the person sitting on the sled to do the filming and taking the pictures.
I must say I didn’t have any problems with steering the sled, it’s not that hard, but I did almost make a little mistake. there was a passage with 3 short turns and the sled was going very fast and I thought we could get fast through these turns without the need of slowing down using the brake, and that almost got wrong, it was too fast and the sled was leaning too much to the right side and my one foot fell off into the deep snow, luckily I never used grip in my arms and could jump up the sled again keep it in balance and push as hard as I could on the brakes. The dogs got the message and slowed down immediately and made it back safe to the dog sledding center.
The cool thing about this dog sledding experience is the fact that me and my partner could switch about 3 times to steer the sled.
Back at the center, it was time to warm up again and some tea, coffee and chocolate cake was served. After that we said goodbye to the dogs and returned to Tromsø to be dropped off at the harbour again.