How many hours of daylight in winter?
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.
How cold it is in Rovaniemi?
This is hard to say, because the the last years have been unpredictable. In general everything from around freezing to -35 Celsius is possible. We provide you with thermal outerwear, boots and gloves to protect against the cold. See what clothes to wear.
When can we drive dogs?
We can start our tours 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
Can you see Northern Lights during the tour?
In general the chances of seeing the Northern lights during the “Call of the Wild” and “Taiga Tour” are very small, as we are not out late enough to see them. It might be possible to see them during our overnight tour, as then we spend the night at a remote cabin. Please note that being able to see the northern lights is dependant on weather conditions, such as cloud cover, temperature, solar wind activity and the location of of the northern lights.
What clothes does Bearhillhusky provide?
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, and suitable for the period of time you will spend outside in the cold.
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
What clothes to bring?
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, 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.
Snow goggles necessary or not?
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 un-exprienced dog drivers.
If you want to use goggles please bring your own.
How to dress kids?
We all know that kids get cold, and if they are not having fun, you the parents will probably not be having fun either. As parents of young children we can give you first hand tips that will make your experience all the more enjoyable and hopefully keep the kids warm.
– Dress the kids for the coldest you can imagine, and then a bit more. Children sit in the sleds, and without movement it can get cold when not moving for an hour or more.
– Layer up, but don’t wear all the layers during the taxi ride. The kids will get hot, sweaty and agitated. Take shoes off in the taxi to prevent sweaty wet feet.
– No cotton, wear thin thermal gloves and socks, take spare dry socks with you.
– Don’t let the kids play in the snow before the tour, they get wet and cold before the tour.
– 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. This is cold and will ruin your experience.
– Disposable chemical hand-warmers are highly recommended, but leave enough room in the boots and gloves to use them.
Can we see husky puppies?
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 kennels as we do not reliably have puppies during the sledding season.
Is the husky tour suitable for small kids?
It is if you dress them well and it’s not too cold. Kids can enjoy the tour 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.
Can you come with your own car?
Maybe! Our kennel is remote and sometimes not easy to reach by un-experienced winter drivers. We arrange transfers to and from Rovaniemi and 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. We do not provide a discount for driving yourself, so if you are driving, park near town and hitch a ride with the taxi. It’s faster and less stressful for everyone.
From where do we offer pick-ups and drop off?
We can pick you up from:
– Central hotels in Rovaniemi
– Santa Village (reception Santa Claus Holiday Village)
We do not pick up from private apartments or from outside of Rovaniemi town, if staying there we will provide you with a pick up rendezvous place. You will have to make your own way there, and continue the journey with our taxi contractor.
The taxi driver will look for you at the reception by name. He will have a sign “Bearhill” It can be that the taxi might be late due to the fact that other travelers are delayed. Dont worry it will usually arrive, and we try to make sure that any delays do not interfere with the program.
On the return journey we can drop you off at santa village, the railway station, the Arctic SnowHotel or the airport as well.
What kind of huskies are these?
At Bearhillhusky 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 colour and shape than their pure-breed cousins the “Siberian Husky”.
Please ask us about them, we are more than willing to “talk dog” and answer all your questions.
What about the cold?
Yep it’s cold, just as you can expect to be hot on a beach in Turkey, it is cold in Lapland. When you prepare for it, it’s not that bad. If however it gets colder than we think our guests can safely handle we will adapt the tour program. Very often this means we will shorten the tour or have a warm up break in between. Below -30 we recommend this only for diehards, below -35 we will cancel the tours as it does not benefit our dogs and 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. At those temperatures our guests would need more experience, than they most likely have, to stay warm and we cannot in the short time provided teach you these skills.
Are the dogs friendly?
I can’t speak for anyone else dogs, but most of our dogs are very friendly, and we do not mind you interacting with them, in fact we encourage it.
I would even go so far to say that if you do manage to get bitten by one of our dogs, you probably deserved it!
Are single travellers welcome?
Unlike some of our colleagues we do not charge for minimum 2 persons. You are more than welcome to book as a single traveller. If you do, we will pair you up with other single travellers, or with other participants in the tour. Be prepared to share the sled with others if you travel single. However if you prefer to travel alone we require that you book and pay extra as a solo driver.
How do we do seating arrangements?
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 others 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 one of the guides in their team or travel with a another participant. We will always try to have 2 adults per sled.
How many people can join the tour?
We usually have 8 dog-teams at the most leaving on our tours, unlike many the other kennels in Rovaniemi.
We prefer this smaller set up for many reasons – the tour is smoother with less waiting so we can travel further, we can spend more time with our guests and the tour is just so much more enjoyable.
If every sled can carry 2 adults and 2 children, this means maximum of 32 persons on the tour. In our December high season we very often travel with a full 8 teams, but outside of December it is usually less.