I’ve never been one to enjoy extreme sports. I once went parasailing over Sydney Harbour and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I promised myself I would never do anything so extreme again. But there are extreme sports and then there are the extreme winter sports you have the opportunity to do once in your lifetime.
Over four days in January this year I was lucky enough to stay at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in northern Finland. There were plenty of activities to do every day including reindeer sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing and horse riding. But my favourite activity of all was husky sledding.
The resort’s private-owned farm of huskies is made up of over 250 pure bred Siberian which are much smaller than the Alaskan Husky.
At 9am on the morning of our adventure we met at the resort reception area (which was extremely disorganised for such a popular resort) where we met our transfer. Upon arrival at the husky farm just five minutes drive down the road, we were dressed in thermal snow suits, boots and gloves and shown the ropes on guiding our sleds. Each sled came with six dogs, tied to ropes which were attached to the sled. One person steered the sled and spoke the commands to the dogs, the other was able to sit inside the sled and relax (temperatures that reached minus 20 degrees Celsius– you can imagine how “relaxing” that must have been).
Driving or steering the sled wasn’t difficult until the cold reached into the depths of your fingers and caused your hands to completely freeze! It was 25 degrees Celsius below zero the day we went out and after four hours of sledding in those sorts of conditions, well, you can imagine how cold we got.
At the end of the trek we were able to play with the dogs which were more than grateful for a pat. But we weren’t given long. Any longer and we probably would have suffered from hyperthermia. We were treated to a fire, hot soup and lingonberry juice, cake and bread by the locals who run the husky safari. It’s amazing how much of a difference hot soup can make!
I never understood the Finn’s obsession with saunas but that all changed after husky sledding. Sitting in the sled on our way back to the farm, there was nothing more I wanted than to set the sauna to 60 degrees Celsius and defrost. And that’s exactly what I did when I got back to our cabin.
If you ever get the chance to go husky sledding, please do. Money should be no objection when it comes to fun and the experience of a lifetime!
Have you ever been husky sledding?
What’s your favourite extreme sport?