To start every New Year, two of my closest friends and I get together in a different location and celebrate. We attempt to find something completely out of the ordinary so that we have a great story to tell people when they ask us “How was your New Year’s? What did you do?” 2011 was Miami, 2012 was Hong Kong, 2013 was New York City, 2014 was Dubai, 2015 was Singapore and 2016 was…THE ARCTIC!!!
Something I’ve always wanted to do was this idea of dogsledding after talking to a few individuals that have done it. They told me that the dogs actually are incredibly happy, they are worker dogs but treated as family by the handlers. I expected these beautiful creatures to be abused and held against their will but it was the complete opposite from what I was told so I immediately said “let’s do it.”
Next thing I know, I’m in the face blistering cold listening to the barks of these happy excited dogs that are practically overjoyed and eager to be pulling the sled.
Our group of 4 took turns with our seating arrangement. Imagine sitting on a log where you have a person sitting in front of you, one in front of them and another in front of them, that’s what it was like. Our sled essentially went to a midpoint cabin area where we had the choice of coffee and tea then to turn back around to the start. I sat in the back at first then in the front secondly where I was able to get some epic pictures.
NOTE: Make smart decisions on how best to use your electronics! The cold KILLS your battery, you can be at 100% one second then at 11% the next! I had my GoPro fully charged before this and it was already at 4% within a few minutes so I didn’t get as many photos as I would have hoped!
It was a majestic and surreal experience. The cold wind definitely gets to your bones after a short while but this was definitely a worthwhile memory. We passed over the frozen Kiruna river followed by a scene that you can only imagine in your dream – a sky beautifully lit by sunset and being surrounded by snow covered trees and absolute silence other than the sound of your sled gliding over the snow.
Midway through, however, our sled crashed into a tree as we were going into a turn. Fortunately none of us was badly hurt and we needed to wait for the driver to chase after the dogs and retrieve the sled. We were told this was the first time in their history that a crash has happened.
Our trip continued at a much slower pace but that was fine – we simply took in the experience. The views are definitely those that we don’t get back in the States.
Absolute exhilarating yet peaceful. I can’t recommend this enough, at least once in your life.
Go to anywhere Arctic (obviously) – Sweden, Norway, Alaska, Canada, Finland, etc. We did Sweden since we were visiting the Ice Hotel
Make sure you are bundled up to the fullest or ask your hotel to supply you with warm enough clothes that will protect you from the wind.
Have your hotel or a tour company arrange this experience for you