A husky sled ride isn’t something you strictly need to be able to see the Norwegian landscape, but it is definitely the most dynamic and fun method, especially if you have a soft spot for caninekind.
The views we saw on the 30min coach journey to the Villmarkssenter property out of Tromsø is probably worth half the price of the trip alone, as we rounded an absolutely gorgeous lake, and got a sweeping panorama of the snowy mountains from up high.
Tromsø Villmarkssenter specialises in both husky and reindeer sledding, and houses over 300 dogs, with breeds ranging from Alaskan Huskies to Malamute crosses. After changing into our special thermal suits and shoes (wear warm socks and gloves!), we were given free rein to wander around the dog yard, including greeting and holding the puppies in their pens and taking photos. All the dogs were either very relaxed or curious and some would even rise up to greet you if you let them, leading to some hilarious behaviour (warning: your clothes will smell like dog afterwards).
As we were short on time, we were only able to experience the Self Drive Dog Sledding. The actual sledding part takes around 40min over 4km and requires little more than applying the brakes and occasionally keeping the sled balanced – there’s no steering involved because the dogs are trained to follow the sled in front of it.
Professional guides from the centre are scattered through the whole line of sleds to deal with any mishaps such as when the huskies get confused and get tangled up in each other — but these small mishaps were also what I considered part of the charm, and you may get to see some cheeky doggy smiles. All the dogs were very vocal and enthusiastic, sometimes so eager to run you had to stop them from overtaking the other sleds. Whether you’re sitting up front or ‘driving’ the sled, you’ll get an incredible view of the surrounding mountains, with casual reindeer chilling in the snow, beautiful colours and views and all to the background music of very enthusiastic canine barking.
Afterwards, you get to relax in a hut with some delicious bidos, traditional reindeer soup that had quite a vivid flavour mildly reminiscent of lamb, and a nice dense slice of delicious chocolate cake. They are a little stingy with seconds of the cake since it seemed to be precisely calculated to the person, but we had two bowls of soup with no problem and were well sated.
Overall, I wish the actual husky sledding experience had lasted a little longer and that we got to interact a little more with our dogs – while we were able to give them pats at the very end, the Villmarkssenter team worked so quickly upon returning that they had already ushered the sledding dogs and our sleds away by the time we dismounted!
If you’re short on time and if interacting and observing these beautiful huskies at work and relaxed in their homes brings a smile to your face though, I’d still say it’s worth it just to cross this item off the bucket list.
Phone: +47 77 69 60 02
Web: Tromso Villmarkssenter
I Ate My Way Through participated as guests of Tromso Villmarkssenter