Go to content Go to navigation
  |  
Driving through the Adventdalen Valley on Svalbard, Norway Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: visitnorway.com/Sonja Louise Birch-Olsen
Photo: visitnorway.com/Sonja Louise Birch-Olsen
Photo: visitnorway.com/Sonja Louise Birch-Olsen
Photo: visitnorway.com/Sonja Louise Birch-Olsen
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter
Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter

Dog sledging on wheels in the Arctic

We hear the huskies long before we see them. A chorus of barking greets us at Svalbard Villmarkssenter: 40 huskies leaping, yelping and eager to go.

Text: Sonja L. Birch-Olsen

Bjørn Kristian Hole, their musher, or sledge driver, welcomes us too with a big grin on his face. He is a student working for Svalbard Villmarkssenter, one of the first companies in Norway to be certified as an ecotourism company.

- I have the best summer job. I love Svalbard and I love the dogs. It's so peaceful and quiet up here, Bjørn says enthusiastically as he hitches the dogs to the wagon they are going to pull.

We are in the Adventdalen Valley on the outskirts of Longyearbyen, the capital of the Svalbard Islands, high up in the Arctic. It is mid-July and it is around 50 degrees Farenheit. The sun is playing hide and seek with us and the wind is rather chilly.

As we climb into the wagon that seats six people, Bjørn tells us a little about the dogs:

- Each husky has its own personality. When we make our dog teams, we adapt the teams to each dog's personality. The huskies are pack dogs, which means that if you let them live out in the wild; they would behave like wolves and go back to their natural being.

When everybody is sitting comfortable on reindeer skins, Bjørn gets the 11 dogs running, not a difficult job by the looks of things.

Panoramic valley

The strong, beautiful dogs pull us along the dirt road that runs through the 30-kilometre long Adventdalen Valley.

Adventdalen is the main valley near Longyearbyen, and is named after the first ship, the Adventure, to discover Svalbard. A small branch of the Gulf Stream reaches the valley and mitigates its rigid climate, allowing the life of an infinite number of arctic flora and fauna species.

The view from the wagon is dazzling; the arctic tundra stretches far out in front of us and behind us. And on either side we have snow-capped mountain peaks. The only signs of civilization are a couple of cars that pass us and some cabins.

And to the right of the wagon we spot several closed mines and one, Mine 7, which is still in operation.

Every now and again we must stop so that the dogs can get a drink of water.

- If we are lucky we might see arctic foxes. Adventdalen is also a very favourite valley for reindeers. And many of Longyerbyen’s inhabitants have their holiday cottages here, says Bjørn as he fetches water from the river. 

Playtime at the Barentsz Cabin 

After 10 kilometres we reach a camp with a dog yard full of cute puppies. Bjørn lets us play with them before inviting us in for coffee, tea and homemade cookies in the Barentsz Cabin, a replication of the Dutch navigator and explorer Willem Barentsz' hibernation hut on Novaya Zemlya from 1596-97. 

Kristin Luna from San Francisco, who is in the Arctic for the first time, is very excited.

- The puppies are so cute and full of life. I’m a huge dog lover, so it's great we get to pet the dogs and puppies. It’s clear that the guides look after the dogs and that they’re in it for the dogs, not the tourists. This is a lovely experience both nature wise and because of the dogs, smiles Kristen before she climbs into the wagon to go back through the arctic valley and back to new adventures.

Facts

Prices
From NOK 590, children under 12 years pay half price

When
July - October depending on weather conditions

What to wear
The average summer temperature is about 42.8° F. Weather conditions can change very quickly. You are recommended to wear the following:

  • Windproof and warm outer jacket and trousers
  • Windproof and warm mittens/gloves
  • Solid and warm boots/shoes
  • Warm socks
  • Fleece jumper
  • Hat
  • Long johns, preferably in wool
  • Long sleeved vest, preferably in wool

You can borrow warm scooter suits at Svalbard Villmarkssenter.

General safety information for visitors to Svalbard

Ad
Ad
Last updated:  2012-12-06
 - Photo: visitnorway.com/Sonja Louise Birch-Olsen
 - Photo: visitnorway.com/Sonja Louise Birch-Olsen

Interest:  Riding & Sledding, Arctic Norway

Close
Embed this article

Copy and paste this code into your blog/website

Preview

Driving through the Adventdalen Valley on Svalbard, Norway - Photo: Tommy Simonsen, Svalbard Villmarkssenter

Dog sledging on wheels in the Arctic

We hear the huskies long before we see them. A chorus of barking greets us at Svalbard Villmarkssenter: 40 huskies leaping, yelping and eager to go.

Dog sledging on wheels in the Arctic

Source: Visitnorway

Related

What to do in Svalbard

Join a boat trip to watch the arctic landscape and wildlife. Or try dog sledding or a snowmobile safari.

Getting to Svalbard and around

There are daily flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen, the main town on Svalbard, via Tromsø most of the year.

The Arctic

Nature rules the north of Norway, and over thousands of years, people have found ways to adapt to the Arctic climate.

Arctic adventures with Svalbard Villmarkssenter

Svalbard Villmarkssenter offers dog sledding, hiking, skiing and other sports activities in wild nature in the Svalbard Islands.

Sponsored

SPONSOR
Play video

Arctic Light Safari

Freedom. Adventure. Imagine a snowmobile journey through the Arctic landscape, with the polar night lit only by the stars and the dancing aurora.

Related videos

Related

Riding & Sledding

Arctic Norway

TEXT ADS
  • Ad
  • Ad
  • Ad
  • Ad
Ad
Ad