Arctic Musher's School
Perhaps this trip is one of the most amazing, if not the only one of this kind and it's surely 100% Arctic adventure.
The main goal of the trip is not only to see the Arctic but also to gain absolutely new experience and try on the role of those who discovered the Arctic a hundred years ago.
You will not be alone while discovering the area! There will be well-trusted helpers as sled dogs of various breeds from totally different Arctic regions of the world: Chukotka and Taimyr sled dogs, Alaskan, Yakut and Siberian huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds and Greenland dogs. Harmonic, isn’t it? The snow, north sled dogs and yourself…
The program is designed thoroughly: a training plan, exercises, equipment, security, service and logistics. But let's have a look at it step by step.
Duration: 9 days
Arrival in Longyearbyen preferably by one of the day flights through SAS or Norwegian Airlines.
Longyearbyen is the capital of Svalbard. It is the northernmost populated area with approximately 1800 inhabitants, 50 nationalities. Longyearbyen was founded in 1906 by John Longyear and named after him further on. This is a town with a particular temper that has been loved by adventurers, explorers, fans of the North and wilderness.
• Transfer from the airport to the Russkiy dom [rus. «Russian house»] – an expedition center of our travel company Grumant in Longyearbyen.
• Lunch at the restaurant KROA.
• Sightseeing guided tour around Longyearbyen including a visit to one of the local dog kennels. You can also go shopping in town if any equipment or warm clothes are needed.
• Accommodation in the guesthouse Russkiy Dom (2-person rooms). Brief info session about the tour program and start of the training course.
• Dinner in the guesthouse or one of the restaurants in Longyearbyen.
• After breakfast at around 8:30 am, a bus will pick you up from Russkiy dom to get to the harbor. Then you will start your trip to Barentsburg by a boat-cruise with a stop by the picturesque Esmark glacier. Warm barbecue lunch will be served onboard nearby the glacier.
Barentsburg is the Russian «capital» of Svalbard. It is a town of Arctic stories written by Dutch explorers, pomors, Norwegian trappers, American and German merchants, adventurers, Soviet builders of communism and Russian miners. Barentsburg was founded in 1921 by the Dutch as a coal-mining settlement. Since 1931 it has been under the State Trust «Arcticugol» administration. The population is approximately 500 people.
• Upon arrival in Barentsburg - checking-in at the hotel «Barentsburg».
• Guided tour around the settlement and a visit to the Husky-farm where you will get to know with your four-legged helpers you’ll spend the whole week with.
Husky-farm was founded in 2016. Nowadays there are 8 breeds of Russian sled dogs: cheerful and cute, they will warm-welcome you like an old friend. During the visit, you will learn about each breed's differences and particularities.
• Short dog sledding tour after meeting the dogs.
• Dinner in the bar, restaurant and brewery Red Bear with the tasting of a locally made beer and Russian cuisine specialties served.
• Overnight at the hotel «Barentsburg».
• Breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
• Theory and practice training at the Arctic Musher's School.
Within the next 2 days, you will learn how to control the dog-sled by yourself. Today you will try to team the dogs, ride the sled and keep balance while turning.
• Lunch at the restaurant or picnic outside (depending on the weather conditions and training program of the day).
• Dinner at the hotel restaurant.
• Breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
Today you will team the dogs and go for a day dog-sledding trip. Depending on the weather conditions and snowpack, we will choose the route either along a seashore in the direction of the Laila Cape or across Grøndalen (valley). The main goal of this day is to solidify all the basic skills of working with the dogs. The distance is from 30 to 40 km.
• Lunch (picnic) during the trip.
• Upon coming back from the trip, you will feed the dogs and sort out the equipment and then you will have dinner yourself.
• In the evening, you will get ready for a 3-day trip with overnights in huts.
• Breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Packing.
• Dog-sledding trip Barentsburg - Russekeila (Starostin Cape). The distance is approximately 45 km.
This will be a complex day due to the length of the route, relief and unpredictable weather conditions. But it is the real Arctic, isn’t it? Safety is the most important thing we care about so that is why there will be one more guide to guarantee security during the trip. The goal of the day is to reach Russekeila translated from Norwegian as a «Russian river». The location itself, as well as its name, are linked to the pomors’ living on Svalbard. The location is so amazing and picturesque with the Greenland Sea from the one side, mountains from the other and Linné lake in 2 km.
Starostin 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 get inside 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”».
• Dinner cooked by the guides. Evening by the fireside with a sea view, stories, and tales.
• Overnight in the hut or tent pitched nearby so you can choose where to stay for asleep.
This will be the calmest and most unforgettable morning in the Arctic, regardless of the weather. But further on, the day will depend on the weather dynamics and your condition. As a plan, you will visit Linné Cape with the old Norwegian weather and radio station Isfjord radio turned into a cozy tourist base. It isn’t located so far, approximately 6 km only but the trip will depend on the snowpack. That is why you will get there in the dog sled or on foot.
Isfjord Radio is a shore radio and weather station on the Linné Cape. A century ago it turned into a connection chain between the archipelago and the mainland, serving as a navigation system and collecting weather data. Nowadays, the station is completely automatically-controlled and includes cozy accommodation and restaurant facilities.
• In the afternoon, you will start the dog-sledding trip to the Grønfjord bay. The distance is approximately 20 km.
• Dinner and overnight in a hut «Red House» at the fireside and with a sea-view.
Another beautiful day unlike the previous one. Itinerary of about 30 km with various relief and amazing views.
• Arrival in Barentsburg.
• Accommodation at the hotel «Barentsburg» and sauna.
• Dinner at the Red Bear restaurant.
Early morning, before breakfast, you can visit the mine of Barentsburg (at extra cost). It is the only operating coal mine in the world where you can get into with a tour. You can see a war between man and nature, mechanisms of getting into the ground depth and of mine reinforcement and collapse protection. You can learn how the coal is being produced and transported onto the surface. You can hear sounds of the underground mine core and feel a breath of the wind going up to the surface from the half-kilometer depth.
• Breakfast at the restaurant.
• Visit our Souvenir shop and one of the northernmost post offices in the world where you can send postcards to all over the world.
• Today you will bid farewell to your four-legged friends and helpers along the tour.
• Lunch at the hotel restaurant. Packing.
• Snowmobile transfer to Longyearbyen.
This trip takes around 3- 4 hours. The distance is 70 kilometers.
• Arrival in Longyearbyen, overnight in the guesthouse Russkiy Dom.
• Dinner at the restaurant KROA or Stationen.
• Breakfast. Walking tour around Longyearbyen.
• Transfer to the airport.
Travel Dates in 2020
17/02 - 25/02
04/03 - 12/03
18/03 - 26/03
15/04 - 23/04
29/04 - 07/05
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