This tour starts at the dog yard, where nearly 300 eager huskies are waiting for their next tour. Which will be on the lucky ones on your team? Electro, Ginger, Duma or Briz? You will be equipped with an exposure suit, boots and mittens, before you hop in and help the guide to harness and prepare the dogs. The barking and howling can seem a bit chaotic, but suddenly, it all changes. As soon as the dogs start to run, they become completely silent. The huskies are completely focussed on pulling the sled through the snow, and you can enjoy the magical landscape around you.
The guide will drive first with two guests, and the following sleds will be driven by two guests, who swap between driving and sitting in the sled. We will follow the river bed that heads into Bolterdalen, surrounded by mighty mountains. As we approach the glacier we will enjoy a little more up and down between the moraine formations.
Being immersed in Svalbard’s wilderness is a very special experience. The weather can be wild or wonderful, and is something that we can’t control, and we may adjust the tour to suit the conditions. We may drive through deep snow, or slippery ice, but it doesn’t make much difference to the dogs, who love to be out on tour, and the experienced guides who will tell you all about the polar dogs and their lives, whether it is minus degrees or plus two!
Svalbard reindeer are often seen on this tour, and sometimes even Svalbard grouse or polar foxes. At the moraine we will turn our sleds back towards the dog yard. Once back you will be invited in for something warm to drink and a biscuit or two, before returning to Longyearbyen.
Between November and January it is polar night in Svalbard. This means that the sun is always 6 degrees below the horizon and it is dark 24/7. The polar night is an especially atmospheric time of the year, and dog sledding under the star-filled skies with dancing northern lights or glittering moonlight is an experience you should not miss. The tour heads into Bolterdalen, and once we are completely under the polar night we can turn off our headlamps. If the skies are clear, the contours of the beautiful Svalbard mountains will appear. If we look to the south, we might see it is a little lighter towards the horizon. The snow-covered landscape reflects light from the moon and stars, and if we are lucky, the northern lights. It is incredible just how much you can see of the landscape when you leave the lights of town behind you.
From March to May is the season we call sunny winter. After many months of darkness, the sun returns to Svalbard at the end of February and throughout the season the days become brighter and longer. In mid-April we get the midnight sun and you can enjoy the sunlight around the clock. Driving a dog sled in this season is a magical experience. The mountains in Bolterdalen are lit up by the sun and while the dogs pull you into the walley you are surrounded by a unique and beautiful landscape in all directions.
You will be equipped with exposure suits, but we recommend that you wear thick and warm woollen underwear, warm trousers and a thick woollen jumper/jacket underneath. Dog sledding is not recommended for pregnant women. This tour is subject to snow conditions. If there is not enough snow to mush in Bolterdalen, the tour will take place on our specially produced wheeled sleds in Adventdalen.
Watch and learn from this introduction video from Green Dog, before you go out in the wilderness to explore!
4 - Good physical fitness