Husky Sledding at Apukka, Lapland

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Husky Sledding

Husky Sledding is a fantastic, fast and fun way to explore winter wilderness in otherwise risky terrain. Gliding across ice-covered lakes or cutting through soft snow drifts carving out a new path. Huskies are typically bred as working dogs for sledding in particular. They love to work, race and be moving most of the time.

The most common breeds used are Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Samoyed and Chinook. In Iceland we had Alaskan Malmutes with a couple of Samoyed and a siberian, but in Lapland out huskies were all Siberian.

Husky Sledding Through the Forest in Lapland | © Travels and Wandering - Nicole
Husky Sledding Through the Forest in Lapland | © Travels and Wandering – Nicole

Apukka, the northern lights centre of Rovaniemi is the perfect location to experience Husky Sledding in Lapland. This stunning wilderness is just 10 minutes from rovaniemi airport or 5 minutes from the city but far enough to escape the tourist crowds and get a true sense of the far north.

Last winter I visited Finnish Lapland. During my stay in this stunning part of the world, I got to experience some of the must do activities and fit in so much fun in such a short space of time. Here was our amazing experience.

Top Tips For Husky Sledding

Here are some top tips for you when booking your husky sledding experience wherever you go.

Husky Sledding In Apukka, Lapland
Husky Sledding Around The Frozen Lake | © Travels and Wandering – Nicole

Check That You Can Drive and Steer The Sled

We thought this was a given. In Iceland we had a musher who rode the sled initially, but then got an opportunity to ride if we wanted to. In Lapland we both got a turn to steer and ride the sled. However friends of ours said they had booked with another company in Rovaniemi and didn’t get to steer the sled. Instead they were passengers.

Check if you will be sharing the sled with others

This is another thing we never factored in our decision but managed to get lucky. We had the sled to ourselves at Apukka, but our friends were in a sled with others in Rovaniemi.

Check if you can borrow a snow suit

For many people visiting in winter you will have suitable thermals and cold weather clothes, however when getting out into the open areas (part of our route went across the frozen lake), wind burn can be very harsh and just general exposure.

Check the duration

This may sound obvious but if you are on a time constraint you may want to do a shorter one, or possibly a combination offer with other activities on the same day. We opted for a half day one as we arrived in the afternoon and then had the evening to do some other activtivities we had booked.

Don’t leave the skin bare

It reached -30 degrees celcius when we were there so make sure you wrap up. We were covered in a large fur blanket but it still got a bit nippy. I brought hand warmers with me which helped, Ben had a spare pair of gloves that were warmer for when he wasn’t driving. I also wore a buff rather than a typical scarf to cover my neck etc. I should point out my eyelashes froza and even some of my hair turned white (which looked hilarious).

Why Chose Husky Sledding at Apukka?

Apukka activity meeting point looking towards the lake | Travels and Wandering - Nicole
Apukka activity meeting point looking towards the lake | © Travels and Wandering – Nicole

We spent a couple of nights closer to Rovaniemi at Apukka resort. Despite it’s closeness to the city Apukkas location feels like you are in true wilderness when you are on the resort as the frozen lake appears to go on forever and the surrounding area is all forest.

The resort accomodation looks out to Olkkajärvi and their activities operate at appukajärvi lake which is across the road. At apukka they have a huge range of activities on offer including ice fishing, snow mobiling, arctic horse riding and so much more.

To take part in activities at Apukka you don’t need to be a guest but you will be best booking ahead either way

If you would like to find out more about Apukka resort check out our ultimate guide to Apukka here, which we recently updated to include our overall review of the resort, our accomodation, food, service and the location Apukka Resort in Finnish Lapland – The Perfect Winter Wonderland

If you are staying here during winter, you will be in luck; with Apukka being dubbed the northern lights capital of Rovaniemi.

Our Review of Husky Sledding at Apukka in Lapland

Both me and Ben (my husband) absolutely loved our experience with Apukka. Here is our husky sledding Apukka experience and review. I have included some key bits of information. Even after doing this a few times in different locations, I absolutely would do this again. I love dogs and particularly enjoyed the experience at Apukka. I would definitely reccomend it to anyone.

To do any activity at Apukka resort you would be best pre booking. Every now and again they will have odd free spots but they are advertised to their guests and first come first serve.

Meeting Point at Apukka

Regardless of whether you are an Apukka guest or an external customer, you will need to go to meeting point between the reception and apartments outside. You will see this immediately when you come up the driveway.

For the husky sledding you will get kitted up in a snow suit (unless you want to wear your own kit) and then head with your group over road and towards the woodland (passing the reindeers on the way).

Before You Get Sledding

Once there you will meet and greet the huskies of Apukka. You are encouraged to get onto the sled as soon as the group is ready. You can pet them and greet them but they will be so excited and lively, they encourage you to spend a bit more time with them at the end of the ride or on the break (when the dogs are more settled).

Don’t be alarmed if you hear howling or barking or see the huskies jumping and pulling. They are very exciteable and as I mentioned they are bred for work.

Husky sledding apukka resort near Rovaniemi in Lapland
Stopping for a hot berry juice during the Husky Sledding – © Travels and Wandering – Nicole

Once everyone was with their huskies (one riding the sled and one seated on the sled), it’s a case of waiting for the cue to go from the lead pack and releasing the breaking bar/peddle. Then off you go.

We passed through gorgeous wilderness and the dogs go pretty fast.

We seemed to pick a pack that were distracted as two of ours kepts scooping ice up along the way to drink and changing the pace. We also had one who quite clearly wanted to be the near the front with the alpha.

Break For Refreshments

Half way we stopped as a group and had some hot berry juice and biscuits provided for by our mushers. If you remember I would take an extra snack here. Because of the cold out on the lake and potential for windchill eating will help you to keep warm.

Finally we contined around the lake and circling back towards our starting point. My eyelashes, tears from the cold and hair was white and had frozen. It was so enjoyable and memorable. I loved everything about it.

Back At The Meeting Point

Once we arrived back, we spent more time with the dogs petting them and then went around to the campfire to chat with others, learn more about the huskies and their historic traditions within sami culture. We then got to meet some of the husky puppies.

If you have ever met huskies before you will know that they are vocal and that each dog has such a unique personality and some rather amusing quirks or traits; this was really noticeable with all of the packs and the puppies. As I mentioned, we both asbolutely loved husky sledding at Apukka and would highly reccomend this experience for anyone looking for the best experiences during winter.

Pin For Later?

If you enjoyed this article let me know in the comments. If you are planning your dream trip to Finnish Lapland then why not check out our other posts.

More Finnish, Lapland Posts

Husky sledding in Lapland
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Owner of Travels and Wandering | Lecturer by Day, Nomad at Heart Adventure Travel Tester | Outdoor Instructor | Mountaineering and Outdoors Researcher | Strength and Conditioning Coach | Yoga Instructor | Personal Trainer | Fitness Pro | Endo Warrior, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, Spoonie

10 Responses

  1. Chris Englert

    I adored this article. It’s inspired me to put this experience on my list. We travel full time as nomads, so it’s right up my alley. Thank you

  2. Megan

    Great tips – especially the ones about checking to see if you can drive/steer the sled and whether or not you will be sharing the sled with others. Knowing this in advance is a boon! Such a difference experience when you get to play an active role in adventure and can focus on the experience rather than making small talk with strangers.

  3. Natascha

    Your post brought back memories of a husky sledding tour I did in Norway. We also got to pick up the dogs from their kernels, harness them to the sled and feed them after the tour. They were friendly, but not really petable. Finland must be a great place for dogsledding too and a must try!

  4. Ossama Alnuwaiser

    I have never thought that husky sledding can be this. What a fun way to explore the wilderness. It sounds like you have had a great time doing it.

  5. L D Holland

    Lapland looks like an amazing adventure.  And husky sledding would be such a fun way to explore this outdoor paradise.  We would want to drive the sled if possible.  But would definitely not want other passengers.  A fun experience for our bucket list! Linda (LD Holland) 

  6. Agnes

    Husky Sledding must be a fantastic adventure! I would love to take such an amazing winter trip to Lapland. Those dogs are so fast and intelligent and beautiful that I would love to take some pictures of them sledding in the snow. Great tips on how to prepare for this trip. Important is to don’t leave the skin bare during frost. Renting a snowsuit seems to be a perfect idea.

  7. Tami

    Wow, what an adventure! Other than the prospects of nearly freezing from the crazy cold, a dog sled ride sounds like so much fun! Why do the dogs get so excited?
    I’m impressed with the quality of your photos. What a beautiful place.

  8. Melanie

    Looks like it was a lot of fun! Lapland would be a beautiful place to do this activity. Great tips, too. I’ve been dogsledding once and I was only a passenger; I’d love to go again and do the mushing.

  9. Renee

    Glad to hear you would recommend this activity when visiting Lapland. I love doing adventurous activities like this. It’s a great way to see nature, as beautiful as it is, and to hang out with dogs for a couple of hours is a bonus.

  10. Puloma Bhattacharya

    Husky sledding looks like a fun experience to explore ice lakes and wilderness. I didn’t know huskies had so many breeds. And it’s great that you can go sledding yourself or rent a musher.
    It sounds wonderful to ihave an experience with these beautiful creatures and stop over for refreshments in a stunning area on the way.

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