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Dogsledding and gourmet dining

“It’s superb! I was a little stiff and nervous at first, but I’m now mastering the sled better.” Harald Olsen has made the trip from Oslo to Alta together with his wife Anne to experience the beautiful, ice-cold Finnmarksvidda. 

Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen

The frost mist is in evidence and minus 22 degrees really hits you in the face as the team gallops on eager paws across the frozen Altaelva river and up into the mountains. The couple from Oslo and the four other guests are well wrapped up in snowsuits, stout boots, balaclavas and snow goggles. It’s a matter of covering all exposed skin to avoid frost bite.

Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen

Their guide for the three-day trip is Trine Lyrek. Together with her husband Johnny Trasti, she owns and runs the company Trasti & Trine. She is responsible for the sled dogs and tours, while Johnny is a chef and holds cooking courses.

Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen

Today’s tour follows the route of one of Europe’s longest sled dog races, Finnmarksløpet. Fortunately, trips with tourists are a more leisurely affair, with food and comfort being a major focus. Guests stay overnight in bunk beds at Jotka Fjellstue, while their four-legged companions each have their own bed of straw in the snow outside. Everyone mucks in and helps out with chores such as feeding the dogs. They are all new to this, apart from Harald, who has been on a one-day dog-sled trip once before.

Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen

The sun has just returned to Finnmark after a two-month hibernation, and even though its rays are blocked by the surrounding mountain tops, the setting is bathed in fresh, blue winter light. 

Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen

The wilderness is wild and intense, with no intrusions or noise. The only sound to be heard is the eager running of the dogs and the sled gliding over crisp, cold snow.

Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen

After three days out in the wilds the tour returns to base, where Johnny is waiting with a gourmet meal made using local, organic ingredients.

Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen

“I’m not an outdoor person or used to primitive living, and I hate the cold, but this has all been a hugely positive experience,” says Iselin Moen, enthusiastically.

Widerøe takes you to Alta

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