Arctic Mushers Academy, 8 days
Probably this is one of the most singular adventures that could be. And definitely this is 100% real touch to the Arctic. What could be more harmonious than you, snow and sledge dogs of the North…
We’ve been working through all of details of this program for a long time maturing training schedule, exertions, outfit and equipping, safety and security, customer care and logistics.
The main point of this trip is not just to visit Svalbard but to learn a lot, to get new experience, to try to feel like people had been feeling during opening up the Arctic hundred years ago.
Sledge dogs of different breeds from different world Arctic regions will help us with it: Chukot sledge dogs, malamutes, samoyeds, Greenlandic dogs, Yakutian laikas.
Duration: 9 days
Arrival to Longyearbyen – a capital of Spitsbergen - preferably by one of the day flights of SAS or Norwegian Airlines.
Longyearbyen is the administrative centre of Svalbard, the northernmost settlement with more than 1 000 inhabitants (about 2 000 people) and the northernmost airport in the world.
• Transfer from the airport to Russkiy dom [rus. «Russian house»] – the expeditional center of our travel company Grumant in Longyearbyen.
• Lunch at the restaurant KROA.
• Sightseeing excursion around Longyearbyen including a visit of one of local dog kennels. Also this day you can visit shops with equipment in case of some warm clothes is needed.
• Accommodation in the guest house Russkiy Dom (2-persons rooms). Brief information about the tour program, start of the academic learning in the form of exciting stories about sledge dog science.
• Dinner at the guesthouse or one of the Longyearbyen restaurants.
• After light breakfast at around 8:30, a bus will pick you up from Russkiy dom to get to the harbor. Then you will go to Barentsburg by a cruise boat. During the cruise you will see the picturesque Esmark glacier. Nearby the glacier there will be a warm barbecue lunch served.
Barentsburg is the Russian “capital” of Svalbard, a coal-mining settlement founded in 1921 by the Dutch company. Since 1931 it has been belonging to Trust “Arcticugol”. Nowadays Barentsburg is the Arctic coal-mining settlement with the northernmost Russian mine in the world, being at the same time an attractive tourist place, where history and traditions meet the modern Arctic development. Population of the settlement is almost 500 people including 70 children.
• Once you arrive to Barentsburg you proceed with check at the comfy hotel “Barentsburg”. Then you will have a guided tour around the settlement. After we will visit husky-center where you meet with four-legged friends which will spend with you a next week.
Barentsburg husky-center – was founded in 2016. Nowadays there are 8 breeds of Russian sledge dogs used in the Russian Arctic. Cheerful and friendly dogs will take you in guests within their borders. You will get information about particular qualities of each breed.
• Short-duration dog sledding after meeting with dogs.
• Tasting of local beer made at the Red Bear- one of the northernmost brewery in the world. Dinner of Russian cuisine with local specialties and fish which had been caught during last autumn fishing season in Grønfjord.
• Night in Barentsburg.
• Breakfast at Barentsburg restaurant.
• Full-scale theoretical practice and training exercise in our Mushers academy
Next two days you will gain lots of knowledge and skills. You will learn how to drive a dog sled by yourself. This day you will learn how to team dogs in a sleigh, to ride in a sledge, to keep balance under speed conditions and many other things. Total distance is 10- 20 kilometers. There will be a guide in arms on a snowmobile for your protection.
• Lunch at the restaurant or outside (depends of a day program and weather conditions).
• Dinner at one of the Barentsburg restaurants.
• Breakfast at Barentsburg restaurant.
• Today you will team dogs in a sleigh without assistance and start a day route. In dependence to weather conditions and snowpack condition we choose a way across the sea to the Laila cape or a way through Grøndalen. The main theme of this day is to nail down all of necessary skills of working with four- legged friends. Total distance is 30- 40 kilometers.
• Lunch during a trip.
• After turning back to Barentsburg we will feed the dogs first and then have a dinner.
This evening you will pack up clothes and prepare for 3-days autonomous trip and overnight stops at hunting cabins.
• Breakfast at Barentsburg restaurant.
• Departure from Barentsburg to Russekeila (Starostin’s cape). The distance is about 45 kilometers.
Complication of this day is aligned with the distance, geography and changeable weather. But this is the real Arctic. There is no way back- only ahead to new adventures! Of course the 21st century has arrived and safety comes first so a guide on a snowmobile will backstop our group. The target point of this day is the place which is called Russekeila. Translated out of Norwegian language that means Russian River. This is the place where Pomor’s encampment in 17th- 19th century had been. The place is really picturesque- there is the shore of the Greenland sea on one side and mountains on another. In two kilometers from there Linné lake is located.
Starositn Cape got its name after a legendary pomor trapper, Ivan Starostin, who spent 39 winters on Svalbard never leaving the island during the last 15 years. He lived at the Russekeila river mouth located not so far from Grønfjord. There you will see the reconstruction of Starostin overwintering camp and pomor funeral cross, and will have a tour around a functioning cabin. One more exciting thing about this place is that Starostin Cape and environs around became the shooting point for the Norwegian movie «Operasjon “Arktis”».
• Overnight halt in a cabin. Near the cabin we set up a tent and you will choose where you want to sleep.
• An expedition dinner at the authentic Starostin cabin listening to the guide’s story and sharing your impressions.
• Walk to the sea. This will be a leisured and unforgettable morning in the Arctic. Programm of this day depends of weather conditions and your feelings after previous day. The plan is to visit Cape Linné where mythical Isfjord radio, a coast radio and weather station is located. The distance is 6 kilometers and depending of snowpack conditions we will go on sleighs or walk.
Isfjord Radio is a shore radio and meteorological station on the Cape Linné. A century ago it turned to a connection chain between the archipelago and the mainland, serving as a navigation system and collecting meteorological data. Nowadays, the station is completely automatically-controlled and includes cozy accommodation and restaurant facilities.
• In the afternoon we drive on with sledge dogs and in the late evening we will come to the coast of Grønfjord for staying overnight in the Red Cabin. The distance is about 20 kilometers. Red Cabin is located in such a picturesque place near the cape where eared seals like to take rest.
• Dinner at the cosy cabin with a fireplace and see-view.
• Arrival to Barentsburg.
Another beautiful day unlike the previous one. The distance is 30 kilometers with different geography.
• Hotel assignment and sauna.
• Dinner at the Red Bear restaurant.
Early morning, before the breakfast, as one of the optional activities, you can go for a tour into the operating mine of Barentsburg (at extra cost). It is the one and only mine in the world where you can get into with a tour! First of all, you will get informed of safety and security instructions, then you will get changed putting on special miners’ equipment. The tour guided by a professional miner starts at the wooden gallery with a brief insight into the mining history, then you will go underground through the main entrance and visit two mine galleries.
• Visit to the souvenir shop and one of the northernmost post offices in the world where you can send postcards to the mainland.
• This day you will bid farewell to the four-legged friends.
• Lunch at the Barentsburg restaurant.
• Bags packing.
• Snowmobile transfer to Longyearbyen.
This trip takes around 3- 4 hours. The distance is 70 kilometers.
• Arrival to Longyearbyen, accommodation in the guest house Russkiy Dom.
• Dinner at the restaurant KROA or Stationen.
• Breakfast. Walking around Longyearbyen.
• Transfer to the airport.
Travel Dates in 2019
17/02 - 25/02
09/03 - 17/03
13/04 - 21/04
1 person on a sledge
39 900 NOK
2 persons on a sledge
29 900 NOK
Extra charge for accommodation in SINGLE rooms in Barentsburg:
The Price Includes:
Accommodation and meals
Boat cruise Longyearbyen-Barentsburg
Rental of sledge, relay, dogs and necessary equipment
Rental of winter overalls ,boots, gloves
English speaking guide
Insurance covering research and rescue, evacuation costs in case of emergency
The Price Does Not Include:
Flight to/from Longyearbyen
Optional tours and activities
Alcohol drinks and dishes/drinks beyond the menu
Tips to the guide