If you are planning to go to Tromsø this winter and thinking of what activities to do, hands down you must do Husky Sledding. It is one of the best thing you can do in Tromsø apart from Northern light (if you haven’t seen one then you should take the tour). It is exhilarating, fun and can be done by adult and children too.
There are many operators in Tromsø and you can choose what suites your need and fit your schedule. It is a popular activity so best to book ahead. You can book thru get your guide, they have 1X24 hour cancellation or if you already know which provider you want you can book direct.
We did dog sledding with Tromsø Villmarkssenter and book direct with them thru their website. They have 2X24 hour cancellation policy. Here I want to share our experience so you know what to expect when you sign up for one.
Because my daughter is only 6 years old, she and I took the husky sled ride while Hubby and son took the self-drive. These two rides are the most popular ride.
We were picked up in front of Radison Blu Hotel, the most common pick up place for most of tour operators. We are advised to be at the meeting point 15 minutes before. There are 3 options of timing: 08:45/09:45/10:15 – 13:00/14:00/14:30 (4h 15min)
We took the earliest tour at 8.45 so we can be in the city again at 13.00 and go to Fjellheisen if the weather permits. We were picked up by a bus and then we traveled to their center in Kvaloya. The ride took 30 minutes and in there we were briefed with a guide who directed us to get our overalls outer and boots to keep us warm and cozy. Then we were split into 2 groups; the self drive and the sled ride.
The sled ride group get to go first, choosing the sled and off we go. Alyssa was the only kid in the group so we were assigned the most experienced musher and put in the back.
The self drive group spend some time to learn the basics of dog sledding and then they are set off into the wilderness. The sled is shared by 2 person and each person take turn; one driving, one riding it as the passenger and at the halfway point they will switch.
Both rides were 45-60 minutes ride and we stopped half way for the musher to take pictures of us with the dogs.
The weather was freezing cold and a bit cloudy but the guide said as long as it doesn’t rain, it’s a good weather. Alyssa was offered extra blanket in case she was not warm enough. A soon as the dogs took off Alyssa was laughing and telling me she is having so much fun. The ride was 60 minutes long thru the gorgeous mountain landscape of Kvaløya-Island. We stopped half way for the musher to take pictures of us with the dogs. Along the ride we passed by the self drive group who was taking the reverse direction.
The ride felt longer than I expected and both Alyssa and I were so happy and we could see that the dogs were thrilled to run. Whenever we stopped and the group in front of us have run again, the dogs would look at us expectantly for the musher to tell them to run again.
Hubby and Son also had a thrilling experience and really enjoyed the ride. Hubby said the dogs are so well trained. They understand the command when they need to stop and when they can run again. They don’t need to be pushed to run and instead they will run as fast as they can and the rider had to actually slow them down.
After the exciting ride we got time to cuddle our dogs and said thank you for the good job and afterward they got their lunch as reward . While the dogs enjoyed their lunch, we went for the kennels tour and get to meet 200 Alaskan huskies and even visited the puppies at their dog yard. Our guide told us all about dog sled racing, the Alaskan Husky breed and animal welfare.
Lunch is included as part of the tour. We were served delicious Bidos -a traditional Sami reindeer stew, hot drink and yummy chocolate cake for dessert. While having lunch the weather turned bad and we could hear the sound of a strong wind. We felt so lucky that we have chosen the morning ride in a pleasant weather.
Is Dog sledding worth it? YES even though it is really expensive like everything else in Norway. Booking directly is slightly cheaper than booking tour operator such Get your guide, but cancellation option will be longer than tour operator. But if you have decided to go to Tromsø then dog sledding and northern light are the top 2 activities that is Must-Do. Fjellheisen cable car is the third best activity but should only be done if the sky is blue and clear. Otherwise you won’t get a good view when you got to the top. We didn’t go up on our first day as the sky was so cloudy and white. The second day we went there because the sky was cleared but it was closed because of the strong wind and the same goes for our third day. So we didn’t get a chance to ride the cable car. But. I have seen pictures when the sky was clear and the view was fabulous.
Practical Information and FAQ
- You can only do dog sledding in winter because there needs to be snow on the ground. And it is usually from November to April. You can still visit the husky in the summer, but no sledding
- The tour usually takes 4-4.5 hours from the time you are picked up and returned to the city
- Warm lunch and hot drinks are included. Most winter activities in Tromso include lunch
- Dress warmly; with inner thermals and sweater (wool/fleece), wool socks, hats and gloves. You will change your parka with the overall outer from the tour. Bring your sunglasses and camera.
- Book husky tour in advance because it is very popular
The difference between Husky Sled Ride and Self Drive?
Husky Sled Ride: the sled is driven by a professional dog mushers. There are 2-3 people in each sled. You will sit inside the sled with 1 or 2 other people. If you have small children in your family/group, they will also sit in the same sled. This activity is perfect for enjoying the scenery, taking pictures and watching the dogs enjoy a day at work. If you are traveling alone, you will be paired with another person.
Self-Drive Dogsledding: a professional dog musher will give you a quick lesson on how to drive your own team of dogs. After this, you will control your own team who will happily follow one of our guides making the trail up front. There will be two persons per sled, halfway the track you will switch control of the sled. This tour is physical and involves coordination to control the sled, however, no previous experience is needed.
Both activities include approx. 45-60 minutes of dog sledding, and start at similar tine but they go on separate routes. The two groups will meet again after the ride for the kennel tour and lunch. So if you travel with a family you can each do different ride like us.
What to bring?
The tour usually provide overalls and boots (always ask when you book for children to ensure they have your children size). Dress warmly and bring your own gloves, hat, warm socks, sunglasses, and most important camera.
When can I do Dog Sledding?
The best time to go sledding in Tromsø is from November till April and there need to be snow in the ground
Do the dogs enjoy pulling the sled?
Yes, sled dogs live for the thrill of the chase. They are working dogs by nature, and they start feeling frustrated if they don’t get time out on the trail. We could see the dogs were so happy to run.
Can children go for dog sledding?
There are some providers that put minimum age 7 years old but there are also others, like the one we went with who do not have minimum age limit. Usually they will ride with and adult and join the Husky sled ride by an experienced musher. Our 6 years old joined the the sled with me and she was so excited when the dogs started running. Check with the provider if they have boots and overall outer for small children.
Is Self-drive Dogsledding hard?
First you will need to be over 16 years old, in a good shape and physically fit because you will have to navigate yourself and your sled. According to Hubbie who has done it, the experienced guide teach you the basics and the dogs are very smart. They listen to your command and wait. You will pick it up quickly and have no issue with the process. What is important is not to let the dogs go too fast when the track is bumpy and if you slip do not let go of the slide and quickly push for the brake so the dogs will stop.
Here’s a video recap of our dog sledding experience with Tromsø Villmarkssenter