Hundekjøring is definitely on my list of things to do before I die. Imagine leading a team of beautiful, strong, and determined dogs through the white, brisk, Norwegian landscape and hear nothing but the sound of the sled moving across the snow and the noise of the dogs working as a team under your coordination. I can´t imagine too many more exciting things.
Both in the same `league´as the Iditarod in Alaska, Norway is home to two dogsled races: Femundløpet and Finnmarksløpet. Femundløpet takes place in the Røros area of Norway. The race was established in 1990 and has grown steadily in popularity ever since. This year the race took place in the beginning of February, so unfortunately you cannot follow the results this year. However, the other big hundekjøring race in Norway, Finnmarksløpet, has yet to take place!
Finnmarksløpet celebrates it´s 30th anniversary this year as the world´s northernmost sled dog race. The race is run by the Alta Sled Dog Club and actually consists of two races-one that is 500km long, which allows up to 8 dogs and one that is 1000km long, which allows up to 14 dogs. The races start in Finnmark County´s largest city, Alta, and heads east essentially along the Finnish border all the way to Kirkenes and back again to Alta, on almost the same route.
The massive team of volunteers does their best to mark the trails with birch branches one to two meters high so the mushers are reassured they are on the right trail. However, the following is a warning on the Finnmarksløpet website:
– -Thus being a skilled navigator in rough terrain, experienced in the use of a map and a compass is an absolutely necessary condition for taking part in the Finnmarksløpet. It might be a matter of life or death for every single musher as well as to be able to take care of him/ herself and the dogs for some 3-4 days in a genuine blizzard, with gales the force of a hurricane.–
Freaky. I can´t even imagine how scary that race would be in bad weather with poor visibility and gale force winds, not to mention part of the trail is on mountains.
Check out great YouTube clip to get a glimpse of the race!
This is the link to Finnmarksløpet website.