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Photo: T. Simonsen

Arctic Wilderness Dog Sledding in Svalbard (Norway)

Dogsled in an untouched arctic world of glaciers and fjords camping in an igloo beneath the Northern Lights or Midnight Sun

  • Guided
  • Hard
  • From £1203/person
  • Jan-May, 3 or 8 days
  • Adults, Groups (max. 3 pers), Solo

Book now for winter 2020

Bookings are now open for Arctic Wilderness Dog Sledding in Svalbard for the winter 2020 season!

Highlights:

  • Dogsled midway between Norway and the North Pole
  • Winter camping in a fibre-glass igloo
  • Drive your own husky team
  • Very small group size (max. 3)
  • Stunning glacial landscapes
  • For adventurers with a frontier spirit

Description »

A dog sledding experience in a region like no other

The Svalbard archipelago is a very special area and offers a magical atmosphere and real frontier spirit for those who venture so far north - ideal for a dog sledding adventure! With a population of just over 2000, the capital, Longyearbyen, is the northernmost town on the planet and the northernmost settlement of any kind with more than 1000 persons.

Dog Sledding in Svalbard

The dramatic glacial landscapes of Spitsbergen offer a unique setting for dog sledding. Photo: T. Simonsen.

Svalbard is a land of extremes of light and darkness - choose to travel during the Polar Night in midwinter, when the sun will never rise, or during the Midnight Sun period, when the sun will never set!

  • Between 26th October and 15th February, the sun is continuously below the horizon during the Polar Night.
  • Between 19th April and 23rd August, the sun is continuously above the horizon with 24-hour daylight - this is the time of the Midnight Sun.
  • Between 16th February and 18th April, the sun will both rise and set. From mid-February, the days are short but lengthen rapidly, until by April it is always light and the sun dips only briefly below the horizon.

There are two versions of this tour:

  • Option 1 (3 days, requires 5 days in total): 3 days' sledding with 2 nights in igloo, overnighting independently in Longyearbyen before and after the tour. This option runs from January until early May, giving you the choice of experiencing the very special atmosphere of the Polar Night with very good chances for Northern Lights, the other-worldly feeling of endless daylight during the "spring winter", or somewhere in between!
  • Option 2 (8 days): 6 days' sledding with 5 nights in igloo plus two nights in cabin at the kennels in connection with arrival/departure. This option takes place from the end of March to early May. It will be continuously light during all tour dates, with full Midnight Sun from 19th April onwards.

Very small groups and the magical experience of winter camping in a fibre-glass igloo

You will be sledding and camping in an area just 1300km from the North Pole! Average temperatures range from around -15 degrees C in the Midwinter period (though can also be much lower) to just a few degrees below zero by April.

Group size is very small, with max. 3 participants + guide, offering a very personal experience.

Accommodation during the tours is in fibre-glass igloo located east of Longyearbyen. At the start of the tour, you will sled from the kennels to the igloo. The location of the igloo can be moved depending on conditions and time of year to offer the best possible base from which to do day tours into the surrounding wilderness.

Many different routes are possible from here, allowing you to explore a different area of the Svalbard wilderness each day.

A challenging environment but with no dog sledding experience required

Your dogsled tour takes place in the remote wilderness of Svalbard, taking you through a stunning landscape of glaciers, valleys and mountains, and into the land of the polar bear. The environment can be challenging, but no prior dog sledding experience is required.

Participants should have previous outdoor experience and be prepared for an adventure! Safety is of course a high priority on your tour, and your guides will carry full safety equipment for the expedition including weapons, emergency beacons, flares and First Aid kit. Each participant will drive their own team of Alaskan Huskies.

Arctic Wilderness Dog Sledding in Svalbard is based on accommodation each night in fixed location in the igloos, but you will also carry a tent with you when sledding. This is both a back-up for safety reasons and also offers the flexibility to decide to camp overnight at a different location if appropriate, while the dogs keep watch.

Winter camping in Svalbard

Winter camping adds an extra dimension of challenge and adventure to the tours. Photo: T. Simonsen.

The flexibility to adapt

The routes taken and the particular regions of Svalbard to be explored during the tours will be chosen to offer the best possible experience depending on weather conditions. It is possible that polar bears may occasionally be seen during the tours, but this is not focus of the tour.

Arctic Wilderness Dog Sledding in Svalbard combines the wild beauty of the Svalbard archipelago, the challenge and adventure of winter camping, and the very special atmosphere of husky sledding in one of the most remote regions in the world.

Getting Involved

As with all our dogsled tours, you will be involved in all aspects of the trip, and this is very much part of the experience. You will assist with caring for your dog team, including harnessing, feeding (and, yes, picking up poo!), as well as tasks around camp such as fetching water, chopping wood, preparing food, washing up, etc.

Itinerary »

Option 1: 3-day tour

NB: You will need to arrive the day before to overnight locally in Longyearbyen (not included). We are happy to provide suggestions for accommodation.

Day 1: Dog Sledding into the Wilderness

You will be transferred from your accommodation in Longyearbyen in the late morning and taken to the kennels. Together with your guide and the rest of the group, you will receive your clothing and equipment, go through the tour ahead and harness your dog teams.

When ready, you begin your dogsled tour into the Svalbard wilderness, sledding east towards the fibre-glass igloo which will be your home for the next 2 nights. Distance covered depends on the location of the igloo, which will be sited depending on conditions and time of year to offer the best possible experience for your tour.

On arrival at the igloo, you take care of the dogs and settle in for the evening. Everyone assists with tasks around the camp.

Day 2: Day Exploration from Igloo Base

The igloo is an ideal point from which to access even more remote areas, with a number of routes possible from here. You will carry a tent when sledding for safety and flexibility.

After breakfast, you harness your team and set out into a beautiful winter landscape, returning later in the day for your second night in igloo.

Day 3: Sledding to the Kennels

You prepare to depart, harnessing your teams for your third day of sledding, which ends back at the kennels around 15.00-16.00. When ready, you will be transferred to your accommodation in Longyearbyen.

Option 2: 8-day tour

NB: Please note that it is not possible to arrive with the late night flight - flight must arrive latest in the afternoon.

Day 1: Arrival

Arrival and transfer to the kennels. Together with your guide and the rest of the group, you will go through the route you will be covering on your dogsled tour into the Svalbard wilderness over the coming days, meet the dogs and review the personal and communal equipment you will be using. When ready, you will eat dinner together around the fire in the hut before retiring to your sleeping bags for your first night on Svalbard!

Days 2-7: Expeditions from Igloo Base

Breakfast and harnessing the dogs before your husky adventure begins.

You first day's sledding will take you from the kennels to the fibre-glass igloo which will be your base for the next 5 nights. Everyone assists with tasks as necessary such as caring for the dogs, washing up, etc.

Arctic Wilderness Dog Sledding in Svalbard

General area in which the dogsled tour takes place

The igloo is typically located in Vendomdalen to the east of Longyearbyen, which offers a great base from which each day's tour is a fresh adventure.

The particular regions you will be sledding in over the coming days and the distances to be covered will be chosen to give the best possible experience depending on weather conditions. A number of areas can be accessed from the igloo base.

Your final day of dog sledding takes you homewards to the kennels to arrive sometime in the afternoon, where you unharness your team and organise your equipment and packing before dinner and your last night at the kennels - a chance to reflect and swap stories and impressions from your time in the polar wilderness.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast, it's time to say goodbye! You will be transferred to Longyearbyen airport (or into town if staying additional nights) for departure.

Dates»

Dates 2020

  • Option 1 (3 days/2 nights with 3 days' sledding): Every Tuesday-Thursday from 14th January to early May, except when 8-day tours are running. This option has 3 days' sledding and requires 5 days/4 nights in total. You will need to stay in Longyearbyen a night before and after your tour (not included).
  • Option 2 (8 days/7 nights, arrival + 6 days' sledding + departure): 30.03.20-06.04.20, 13.04-20.04.20, 27.04-04.05.20. This tour includes night in cabin at the kennels at the start and end of the tour.

Prices»

Prices 2020

Prices are in British Pounds and Euros. If you wish, you are also welcome to make your payment in Norwegian Kronor (NOK) - please contact us for details.

Standard Prices (per person)  
3-day tours (3 days' sledding)GBP 1,203EUR 1,338
8-day tours (6 days' sledding)GBP 2,627EUR 2,922

What's Included »

Included

Accommodation:

  • Option 1: 2 nights in fibre-glass igloo located to the east of Longyearbyen. Accommodation locally before and after the tour is not included.
  • Option 2: 5 nights in fibre-glass igloo located to the east of Longyearbyen Days 2-6 + 2 nights in hostel standard rooms at the kennels on Days 1 and 7. Accommodation at the kennels has shared room with bunk beds and has electricity, drinking water is provided in containers, dry outside toilets, simple shower facilities. Igloo has no electricity. Cooking facilities in the igloo are paraffin stove, which also provides heating.

For both tours, a tent will be taken when sledding as part of safety equipment and may occasionally be used for overnight accommodation as alternative to igloo.

Igloo Accommodation

Fibre-glass igloo accommodation during the tour

Meals:

  • Option 1: All meals from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 3.
  • Option 2: All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8.

Equipment and Clothing:

  • Husky sledding equipment including own sled dog team of Alaskan Huskies and services of local guide.
  • Warm winter outer clothing: thermal snowmobile suit, winter boots - please provide clothing (S-XXL) and shoe sizes in advance. Guests should bring own warm gloves/hat, but if you do not have suitable gloves, these will be provided.
  • Warm winter sleeping bag/liner and mat. Reindeer skins are provided for extra warmth to sleep on.
  • Camping/cooking/eating equipment, thermos.

Guide:

  • Instruction in harnessing and sled handling.
  • Services of local guide.

Transfers:

  • 3-day tour only: Transfer to/from your accommodation in Longyearbyen and the kennels on Day 1/Day 3. Guests are responsible for own transfer to/from airport in connection with arrival and departure.
  • 8-day tour only: Transfer between Longyearbyen airport (or accommodation locally if staying extra nights) and the kennels on Day 1/Day 8. NB: Unless staying additional night(s) before the standard arrival day, you must arrive with afternoon/evening flight. It is not possible to arrive with the late flight.

Not Included

  • Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Getting There" for general travel information.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Meals not specified above.

Good To Know »

Required

Health requirements/experience:

Good level of fitness. You should have previous outdoor experience (inc. camping in summertime) and be comfortable living in close proximity with others. Minimum age 18 (16 if accompanied by adult).

No previous dog sledding experience is required. Dog sledding, winter camping and tasks around camp can be physically demanding. You will need to assist the dogs during uphill sections by stepping off and running behind the sled.

  • Max. participant weight limit 95kg.
  • Due to the very remote nature of the region and the limited access to medical facilities and range of food provisions, it may not be possible to accommodate guests with food allergies or with certain medical conditions. If you have an allergy or medical condition of any kind, it is essential that you contact us to discuss suitability for the tour.

What makes this "Hard"?

This tour features winter camping in fibre-glass igloo and also takes place in a very remote landscape. The terrain is treeless and can be very exposed.

8-day tours, being longer, will typically have a higher level of physical challenge, while 3-day tours taking place during the earlier part of the season, from January to March, may have more challenging weather and temperature conditions.

NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.

Equipment/clothes needed:

For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's Included".

A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.

NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.

Preparing for your trip:

For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.

Minimum number:

This tour has no minimum. Tours are guaranteed from the first booking.

Groups

Maximum group size 3 persons.

Eco Info

This provider has a written environmental policy.

Will I see Polar Bears?

The tour takes place in areas where polar bears can be seen, and bears are occasionally spotted during tours (when made, sightings are usually from a distance). However, seeing polar bears is not a focus of the tour, and would not be appropriate either from the point of view of disturbing the animals (Svalbard has very strict guidelines on this) or for safety reasons. Every effort is made to minimise the risk of getting too close to a polar bear to avoid disturbing them.

It is certainly possible that you may see seals or signs of other wildlife such as arctic foxes during your tour.

Getting There »

Detailed information on travel options to this experience will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.

Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.

By Air:

Fly to Oslo for domestic flight to Longyearbyen. Local transfers from Longyearbyen in connection with the start/end of the tours are included as per itinerary information.

Gallery & Reviews »

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