A Porsche adventure: dog sledding in Finland
Experience a treasured part of Finnish culture on a dog sled on this Porsche adventure
A dog team pulls a sled across the snow
Snow and ice. Power and grip. If this is making you think of Finland and an all-wheel drive Porsche, you’re not wrong. But that’s only part of this adventure story
Pure paw powerNorth of the Arctic Circle, participants in the Porsche Travel Experience Arctic get to experience power and speed across a frozen ocean in a completely new light – and without an engine, for a change. Ahead of us, 32 extremely energetic dogs’ paws claw into the ice in front of us, running back and forth, yelping for attention.
Sled dogs in their harness in front of their kennels
Waiting for the start command from their ‘musher’ (the name of a sled dog handler) to get going
At the helm is our ‘musher’ Jens, the dogs’ handler. He gives them the tell-tale go-ahead to move off, and the dogs lean into their harnesses and begin to pull powerfully. Their movement is effortless and nimble as the eight-dog sled glides across the wide white plains and through the birch forests of this remote part of Finland. “When a sled dog really goes for it, you can reach 40km/h on short sprints,” Jens explains. These ancient Nordic dog breeds are incredibly fast, with the natural advantage of being able to run at the same speed on ice and snow as on dry ground. The dogs’ paws sink into the soft snow, leaving prints on the untouched path in front of us, and causing snow to fly in our faces. “The hair between their paws and their pads makes them resistant to ice,” Jens adds, raising his voice to be heard over the noise from the sled and crunch of the ice.
Two sled dogs sit, ready in the snow
Ready for the adventure run through the sparkling landscape
Born to run in Arctic conditionsSled dogs are known for their strength and endurance, as well as their stubborn temperament. The dark-coated male in our team cheats on the mountain, letting his leash sag. When the musher admonishes him, the icy ride quickly continues. There is something primeval about flying through the endless, snow-covered landscape of Lapland, accompanied only by the sound of the snow under the sledge and the metronomic panting of the animals. There’s not a building in sight up here. The route on this Porsche adventure could not feel any lonelier or spectacular.
Sled dogs pulling their team through the winter landscape
With much barking and boundless energy, the Arctic dogs pull us across the snowy landscape
The icy polar wind cuts deep through our layers of clothing, unlike the animals that are propelling us over this frozen land. “The dogs’ short, wiry fur protects them from the cold,” shouts Jens over a blast of wind, as he steers the sledge through the tundra. In these temperatures, our four-legged friends really have the advantage with their compact stature. “In the past, the sledge driver sat at the front of the sledge and drove the dogs with a whip,” adds Jens. Today, he stands at the back and steers.
Two sled dogs race across the ice
It’s when the Arctic temperatures drop below freezing that the sled dogs really come into their own
The lead dogs at the front of the team do the rest of the job. “They’re the strongest and bravest animals of the pack,” explains Jens. “They set the pace for the others.” Moments later, Jens is on the sled brakes. It’s a harsh, quick movement that stabilises the sledge during the ride, preventing it from leaning over in curves.
Several sledge teams pulling across the ice
Deeply connected with nature, travellers in Finland enjoy the sparse, lonely landscape of the Arctic Circle
A Porsche adventure of a different kind Up here on the Arctic Ocean, 400km north of the Arctic Circle, the sled drivers feel a deep connection with their dogs and the pristine natural landscape. We city dwellers have also begun to understand the special relationship between humans, animals and nature. It’s a Porsche adventure that still resonates strongly within us long after we’re back on four studded tyres in our Porsche Cayenne, cruising across the snowy Finnish plains in a markedly different fashion.
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