History of dog sledding
Dog sledding is an exciting outdoor adventure with strong historical roots. For hundreds of years, working dogs that help pull cargo and transport people have been a crucial means of transportation for communities based in the Arctic regions. As far as archeologists can tell, the oldest evidence of dog sledding dates back to 1000 CE.
Dog sledding has peaked recreationally over the last couple of decades. Especially in the ‘80s, when the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race streamed the famous race between Rick Swenson and Susan Butcher.
Since cars, quad bikes, and snowmobiles became widely prevalent, engine-driven inventions have brought convenience to everyday lives. Despite this transition, dog-sledding remains as an attraction and fun experience for both tourists and locals.
What is dog sledding?
Most of us have seen canines pulling a sled either in the movies or in real life. But do you know what a musher does? If not, then let’s start from the beginning with some terminology. Simply put, a dog sled is a sled dragged by a group of dogs over ice or through the snow.
The word mush is used as a general term, which means moving forward. Mushing is synonymous with dog sledding, where the method of transportation or sport is powered by dogs. For this activity, the person who takes charge of steering the sled is called the musher.
Alaskan Huskies are the most suitable dog breed to drag heavy weight loads and travel long distances in harsh Laplandian conditions. Huskies are not only large, fluffy, and cute, but they also require lots of movement and exercise all year round. This makes the world-class breed ideal for living in craggy terrains and providing the power needed to pull the sled for days on end.
Dog sledding tours in Sweden
Some of the best-known dog sled trails are located in the northern part of the country, known as Swedish Lapland. The most sought-after trail is Kungsleden (the King’s Trail), which is approximately 270 miles long and situated point-to-point from Abisko to Hemavan settlements.
From half-day to week-long expeditions in Lapland, travelers come to Sweden for dog sledding tours from all over the world, just for the experience or as part of the holiday activities. In either case, leading your own dogsled is an unforgettable adventure. However, if you prefer to take a backseat, you can book a one-of-a-kind guided tour with a professional musher.
When you’re sliding through mountainous scenery, crossing snowy valleys and deep forest paths, the experience gets even better when you ride with a pack of friendly huskies. You often can pet, feed, and look after the huskies yourself during an expedition, which is always a bonus for any dog lover!
Dog sledding is not limited solely to Lapland, but you’re more likely to find a sufficient amount of snow in the northern parts of the country. The season starts from the end of October and goes through April. It can even be experienced during the summer – just on wheels!
Around January and February, the temperature drops below -30°C (-22°F), which can’t be described as cold but more so as freezing. So, make sure to choose a date where the weather allows you to comfortably enjoy the dog sledding tour, typically around March and April.
If you enjoy the outdoors and you’re in good shape physically, you can drive your own sled. Bear in mind, steering a sled for 2-3 hours can be exhausting, so expect a moderate level of difficulty.
Age-wise, if you’re part of a team, you can bring children with you. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check with the tour organizer or guide about any restrictions or recommendations.