At This World Traveled, we’re animal lovers. We consider ourselves lucky if our travel adventure is enhanced by a chance animal sighting or planned encounter. Sometimes, like in the case of dog sledding, you can plan an entire adventure around the animal encounter itself. Enter, the Siberian Husky. They are an energetic breed of dog who thrive in cold climates due to their thick coat. Huskies are friendly and they love-love-love to run.We’d done dog sledding before, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Our previous dog sledding adventures had only lasted a few hours each so we wanted a more immersive experience. We did some research, asked around and on a friend’s recommendation we looked at Axe Handle Mountain in Strömsund, near Östersund, Sweden. It was exactly what we were searching for: a three day, three night adventure with two full days of dog sledding roughly 43 miles, or 70 kilometers each day.The owner, Graham, met our group of four at the airport and drove us an hour to the lodge and cozy cabins we were to stay at for two of the three nights. We were the only guests those four days. Graham and his wife Bettan, apparently, used to accommodate larger groups, but have since focused on smaller groups of adventurers. Their land is beautiful and the cottage-style cabin we slept in was warm and quiet.We woke up early on the first day, had breakfast and geared up to meet the pups who would be pulling us along the next few days.They have around 40 dogs on their property–each with a unique personality and temperament. The dogs range in color from black and white to gray to all white. Some have beautiful multicolored eyes. Each of the dogs seemed to love the human interaction of petting and a hug or two.We each had our own sled and team of dogs who howled and barked in a deafening chatter and tugged with all their might against their harnesses until they were finally allowed to run. Once we were on our way, the dogs were silent and all we heard was the peaceful sound of the sleds being dragged along icy trails.We stopped every few hours to let the dogs roll in the snow and have something to eat. As the dogs enjoyed their short siesta, we enjoyed hot cocoa and a sandwich.The landscapes were incredible.Our first day of dog sledding led up across a frozen lake, through snowy woodland trails and up a mountain to Almdalen, a Swedish mountain farm, where we had a wonderful dinner and stayed the night.The next morning we took an alternate route back to Axe Handle Mountain. After another full day of dog sledding roughly 43 miles or 70 kilometers, we definitely felt we had had a full experience. It was the right amount of sledding to relaxation in the evening after dinner. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to run alongside the sleds to assist the dogs up steep inclines, and if the sled tips the dogs won’t stop…with or without you on it. But it was fun, we’d do it again and we recommend it!
Tips Before Your Trip:
- The closest airport to fly into is Åre Östersund Airport (OSD) where Graham will arrange your pick-up and drop-off.
- We highly recommend a windproof parka or ski jacket, ski goggles and warm layers.
- Axe Handle Mountain will provide thick gloves and boots for you to wear during the dog sledding.
- They offer many different trips for all different skill levels. We did the Almdalen 2-day which cost 7800.00 SEK or approx $916.00 depending on exchange rates.