The amount of daylight changes rapidly in winter. Up until Christmas the days get shorter, after that spring is on the way and the days get longer. Rovaniemi lies on the Arctic Circle and that means that at least one day a year the sun does not rise above the horizon. This does not mean that the days are pitch black and dark, but that we have a very long period of sunrise followed by a long drawn out sunset. The white snowy landscape also makes things way more bright than expected. For those dark moments we provide headlights for our guests. Our morning tours in December tend to start in the dark and finish with some light. The afternoon tours starts when it is still light and finishes in the dark.
This is hard to say, because the the last years have been unpredictable. In general everything from just below zero to -35 Celsius is possible. We provide you with thermal outerwear, boots and gloves to protect against the cold. See what clothes to wear section below for more information.
We can start our tours with sleds when we have enough snow on our trails, and all the wet areas are frozen. This is often in the first week of December, but can also be as early as mid November.
Although we can drive dogs ourselves under quite difficult conditions, we need very forgiving snow situations before we are able to safely take guests on the trail. Therefore even if it looks like there is a lot of snow, please check to make sure that the tours are available, as we need more than just snow to be able to safely take our guests on a tour.
Even without the snow there is plenty to be experienced! In summertime we offer educational kennel visits to take a peek into the daily life of the huskies and mushers. In autumn before the snow comes, we can teach you to drive a smaller cart that has wheels, the huskies eagerly pull! Almost year round we offer experiences with the huskies which vary according to the time of the year. Please don’t hesitate to contact us about questions what to do in summer or autumn while visiting Rovaniemi!
In general the chances of seeing the Northern lights during the daily tours are very very small, as we are not out late enough to see them. It might be possible to see them during our Black Dog Midnight Madness, as the tour takes place late in the evening. Please note that being able to see the Northern Lights is dependent on the weather conditions, such as cloud cover, temperature, solar wind activity and the location.
Driving dogs can be a cold activity and experienced mushers are masters in cold weather dressing. Through years of experience they have developed often very personal ways of staying warm.
Each person is different in how they stay warm so we provide you with thermal outer clothes that will help keep you warm based on our experience. Also taken consideration the period of time you will spend outside during the safari.
We provide you with:
– A complimentary thermal tube scarf (very cool with our logo)
– A thermal outer overall
– Woolen socks
– Winter boots with thermal liner
– Winter mittens
– Winter hat
Although we provide you with thermal outer clothes, it greatly enhances your experience if you dress correctly before you arrive!
So our tips are very simple:
– Wear wool or artificial fibres on the skin, no cotton! Be especially careful of cotton socks as they will be cold, wet and spoil your experience
– Layer up, but not too tightly
– Wear tight thermals and on top of that wool or fleece clothes
– Thin finger gloves and wool socks are a worthwhile investment for any trip to Lapland, but remember no cotton
– A pair of winter trousers and jacket can be worn under the overalls when it is very cold outside
We do not provide snow goggles during our tours as we do not recommend using them. Personally we prefer to have our vision unimpaired. Goggles tend to fog up, limit visibility and cause unnecessary driving accidents with unexprienced dog drivers. If you really do want to use goggles please bring your own then.
We all know that kids get cold and if they are not having fun, you the parents will probably not be having fun either. We can give you first hand tips that will make your experience all the more enjoyable and hopefully keep the kids very warm.
– Dress the kids for the coldest you can imagine, and then a bit more; Children sit in the sleds without movement and it can get cold when sitting for an hour or more
– Layer up, but don’t wear all the layers during the transfer; the kids will get hot, sweaty and agitated, you can take shoes off in the taxi to prevent sweaty wet feet
– No cotton, wear thin thermal gloves and socks, take spare dry socks also with you
– Recommended not to let the kids play in the snow before the tour as they get wet and cold before the tour begins
– When dressing the kids at the kennel, first put on the thermal gloves, hats and tube-scarf and then the overall; keep mittens tucked in the overall and the overall covering the top of the boots
– Keep all the clothes very large, we recommend that boots be at least 2 sizes too big
– The most common mistake is to have tight boots with 2 pairs of cotton socks since you will most likely get very cold with that combination
– Disposable chemical hand-warmers are recommended, but leave enough room in the boots and gloves to use them
Pregnant women are not at greater risk of an accident or harm than other participants in the tour. It is recommended that pregnant women join the tour as passengers and preferably in guide sled. However we recommend careful consideration if you wish to join a cart or sled driving part of the tour when on the 1st or 3rd trimester. You can send us an email if you wish to have more information and it’s also useful to note it in the booking in advance. If the program requires special organization (e.g. additional transport), Bearhill Husky shall not be responsible for the possible extra costs.
It is when you dress them well and it’s not too cold. Children can enjoy the tour very much if they are dressed well enough. For infants we would be wary with travelling below -20 Celcius.
If it’s really cold we travel according to the capabilities of our weakest member and might adapt the tour to suit the colder temperatures.
Our dogs are amazingly strong but there are limits to what they can pull. This means we have to adapt our seating arrangements to the capabilities of the dogs.
In general our dog teams can handle 2 adults and 2 children per sled. One adult will drive the sled, the other one can sit with the children. If the size, weight or amount of the participants in a group exceed the capacity of the team, we will offer to have the older children or adults join the guides sled or cart.
We welcome also solo travellers to our tours! If you are a person travelling solo, or a group with an uneven amount of adults, we might pair you up with another guest from the group, or ask one of you to join our guide sled. We want to offer the possibility to have one of our tours for as many people as possible within our capacity, which is why we’re always counting 2 adults into one sled, unless there’s a single driving supplement purchased.
If you wish to not share the sled with another guest from the group, you can contact our sales office for advise and solutions.
Though we appreciate the enthusiasm of young mushers, we do not allow children under the age of 18 drive the sleds, even though they’re paying the full price of the tour. Driving a husky sled takes a certain amount of strength but also ability to maneuver and think that a young persom might still lack. If someone (even adults) can drive the sled is always on the hands of the guide of the tour, since they are responsible of the safety on the tour. To make the guides day that much easier, we’ve set the limit at 18 years of age. If an adult guest can not listen to driving instructions or seems that their abilities to maneuvcer a husky sled have been impaired, our guides have the right to not let them drive, but to organize another way for them to join the tour.
Maybe! Our kennel is remote and sometimes challenging to reach especially in winter by unexperienced winter drivers. In summer and autumn you can check with us first and get good instructions how to come here. We arrange transfers from and to Rovaniemi in order to keep the schedules working we prefer you use them. It has happened that we have had to delay our tours; to the detriment of part of our group, to go help lost or stuck drivers. In winter or autumn we do not offer any discounts for driving yourself. You can park near town and hitch a ride with our transfer, it’s faster and less stressful for everyone.
We can pick you up from:
– Hostel Cafe Koti
– Santa Claus Village (Santa Claus Holiday Village reception, Arctic Treehouse Hotel)
– Ounasvaara (Sky Hotel, Chalets)
If you are staying in a private apartment in Rovaniemi area, we will provide you a centralized pick up point. From that point you will be picked up at the informed time, so please be on time waiting for the driver.
The driver will look for you in the reception area by name and will have a sign that says “Bearhill”. Sometimes transfer might run with few minutes delays due to weather conditions, some customers being late etc. We try to make sure that any delays do not interfere with the program itself.
On the return journey we can drop you off to Santa Claus Village, Ounasvaara or the city centre.
In winter we usually have 10 dog-teams at the most leaving on our tours. However it depends on time time of the winter; in December high season we very often travel with a full tour but outside of December it is usually less.
In summer group sizes can be from two people to 15 for example, so it varies and also the same with autumn.
You are more than welcome to book as a solo traveler. On sled and cart tours we will pair you up with another solo traveler or a participant from the tour. So be prepared to share the sled or cart with another member from the group if you travel solo. However if you prefer to travel alone we require, that you purchase the single supplement.
At Bearhill Husky we have what are called “Alaskan Huskies” They are relatively unknown outside of the sled-dog world. They tend to be more diverse in size, eye color and shape than their pure-breed cousins the “Siberian Huskies”. Please ask us about them, we are more than willing to “talk dog” and answer all your questions!
The answer is complicated and simple at the same time; Sometimes!
We breed dogs to keep our kennel healthy and that means sometimes no puppies and sometimes 1 or 2 litters per year. These pups tend to be born in the spring time and can not be considered “puppies” any more by time the snowfalls. We do our best to prevent unwanted and unplanned pregnancies in the kennel by castrating all our non breeding males.
We are aware that certain kennels time and or plan their litters for display purposes, but we find this a dubious and unethical practice not beneficial to the welfare of the dogs.
If seeing puppies is a priority we recommend that you book with other kennel, as we do not reliably have puppies during the winter season.
We can’t speak for anyone elses dogs, but most of our dogs are very friendly. We do not mind you interacting with them, in fact we encourage it!
Yep it’s cold in winter! Just as you can expect it to be hot on a beach in Turkey, it is cold in Lapland. When you prepare for it, it’s not that bad at all. If however it gets colder than we think our guests can safely handle we will adapt the tour program accordingly. Very often this means we will shorten the tour or have a warm up break in between. Below -30 Celcius we recommend this only for “diehards”, below -35 Celcius we will cancel the tours as it does not benefit our dogs or our guests to travel then. When it’s that cold we are using all our skills and years of experience to stay warm ourselves, and keep our dogs safe.
It can in fact be really hot during some summer days. When in winter it can get as cold as -30, in summer it can get +30 degrees Celcius!
Our summer program generally includes a short ride with a cart huskies eagerly pull, the cart ride is offered only when temperature is less than +10 degrees Celcius due to the welfare of the dogs. Same goes for the husky cart tours in autumn; if the temperature gets too high, we have to keep in mind the welfare of the dogs and reschedule for example.