Frequently Asked Questions

What is included within a Tour or Product

For any questions regarding husky safaris - whether day safaris or multiday tours, (and for multiday tours, there are separate FAQ pages about a) the booking process, b) kit and c) the safari itself), please see the information on their respective FAQ pages, linked. For other products, some include kit and clothing or activity accessories and some do not. Some tours are guided and others are just facilitated. Please check the information given about the product you are specifically interested in, to find out exactly what is included.

Should I arrive early or on time?

Please arrive just at the time agreed so that we know we will have someone available to help you. If you arrive in advance of the time agreed or without notice, please note that our guides are primarily focused on dog welfare and tasks associated with their care and so may not be immediately available to eg sort a kit hire booking or take your payment until the time allocated. If you are going to arrive more than 15 mins. late (eg if you have misjudged the time difference between the border countries, please let us know ahead of time by calling (0403532076) and we can see what we can do and whether it will still be possible to organise the product you have booked or not. Unfortunately, however, even though we will do our best to accommodate you, we don't want to keep multiple clients (or guides!) waiting so we cannot guarantee a later start-time and you may unfortunately end up forfeiting your tour by effective cancellation.) (Our dogs and guides, for instance, will be ready and waiting on the start-time at the time indicated, when the product in question is a husky safari).

What are your payment and cancellation terms?

Please note that we adhere to a strict - full payment, no refund - policy for cancellations and no-shows.

Most people booking products or planning to rent kit do not anticipate their plans to change - but sometimes plans do change - so it is worth making sure that you are covered against this eventuality through your travel insurance since we unfortunately do not offer refunds for short tours. This policy has been developed Through feedback from staff and guests over the years, to not only meet the needs of our company, but to be as reasonable as possible for our guests. We are a pretty small, seasonal company, with limited guide and equipment resources, in an area with a relatively low number of tourists. Hence, when people reserve tours or pre-book kit rentals (often last minute) and then cancel last minute, we often either loose the chance to offer those products or items to others who may have enquired in the interim but been turned away or we end up using precious staff time towards something that was totally unnecessary and this puts pressure on the business and the dogs.

Hence, although multiday husky safaris have their own cancellation policies, for all other tours, the simple policy is that we do not offer refunds for short tours or kit rental when people fail to show. And, in the unlikely situation that there has only been a partial payment made online against a booking, (for instance if someone has booked for a lower number of people or items than they have then communicated that they need to have prepared), we will charge the full amount due on the credit card with which the partial payment was made, if the clients fail to show.

For that reason, we highly recommend taking out insurance that can cover changes in travel plans. FYI: We feel that our recommendation to take out insurance prior to committing to a tour should be a minimal precaution in these unusual times.

In exceptional circumstances, and entirely at our discretion, we may offer up to 50% refund if the cancellation is made over 30 days before the start of a product / kit hire and exceptional circumstances are involved; (eg upon presentation of a medical validation).

Please read the following cancellation policy carefully.

We generally require a full advanced payment of the services to complete a booking and our preferred method of booking is online since this then means that we spend more time with our dogs and less on answering emails and phonecalls. If you end up paying on site as opposed to through our online reservation system, then it is possible to pay by cash or card and we accept all standard cards except for American Express.

FYI: We may occassionally take bookings by phone / linked to an email enquiry without taking payment (for instance, if we are not near a computer when we take the call / if the payment does not go through online when we try to take the credit card details over the phone), but in these instances, informtaion about the bookings made on your behalf at the back end of our system will be sent through to you by text or email with a link through which you can complete the payment. If this payment is not completed in advance, then we may not prepare your kit for hire, (for example), in advance, since we have too often found that bookings made without payment result in people not turning up and we do not want to waste countless hours in unnecessary preparation. If you have made a partial payment against a reserved product but fail to show, the remainder will be taken through our online booking system, in accordance will our 'full payment and no refund' terms.

** For any cancellations made due to changes in travel restrictions linked to CoVID illness, exposure or border closure, in instances in which you can show that the borders are closed, or you have a medical certificate AND your procured insurance will not honour your need to cancel, we offer two options for short safari or kit hire reservations.

1) a credit to be used against a booking moved to a later date within that season (minus a €15 per person rebooking fee) OR 2) a refund of your payment LESS 25% of the value of your payments made to date. FYI Our winter season is from from November to April and our summer season, from May to October.

FYI:These terms do not apply should you simply wish to cancel or change your holiday because of a changing covid threat level, if the borders are still open and other people are coming in.

FYI: Rebooking is only possible within the same season and a doctor's certificate as well as a copy of the insurance policy you took out in the hope that it would cover any covid-related cancellations will be required in order for us to honour the above changes to our standard short safari or kit hire policy - which is basically that we do not offer refunds.

Should customers wish to move their booking to the following season, you can carry 50% of the payment forward.

FYI: Separate terms apply to the multiday husky tours.

For Tour operators paying by invoice

For companies paying by invoice (as opposed to through our online booking system): the full sum owed against the booking will be due 30 days prior to the start of the booking.

If a cancellation is made after that point, (or if the invoice has not yet been paid within a month of the date of the tour and then a cancellation is made), the full sum is still due against the reservation made.

When cancellations are made between 1 and 2 months prior to departure, 70% of the sum owed against the reservation will be retained / charged post cancelation.

If the cancellation is made 2-3 months prior to departure, 30% of the sum owed will be retained / charged.

If over 3 months prior to the date of departure, the cancellation can be made without penalty.

Policy Regarding Changes to Bookings

Any guests who wish to change their booking dates will have the opportunity to make one change to their dates (within the same season) with only a minimal €15 per person charge, assuming that the booking change is made at least 3 weeks prior to the start of the booked tour. Should additional changes be required within that same season, each additional change will be subject to a €25 per person admin fee. It is our hope that all our guests understand our need for this policy.

Operating a seasonal business in a remote area means we have to maximize our limited season. When you reserve tours or kit with us, we are committed to making the that product or kit available to you from out of our small fleet. We often have to turn potential customers or renters away because we are completely booked up. Please honour your booking and our cancellation policy.

Should customers wish to move their booking to the following season, you can carry 50% of the payment forward if you are able to show a valid reason (eg a medical certificate or border closure) for the change request.

Can I purchase souvenirs or extra socks, toiletries, batteries etc from you?

We have a small souvenir shop that is mostly about huskies - but also includes some essential items that clients sometimes forget to bring with them (toothbrushes, head-torch batteries, heat packs, socks etc).

What happens if I pre-book kit and clothing and then it is warm enough that I decide that I don't need it?

We can either give you:
a) a 50% refund on the kit that you pre-ordered (since we will likely have already done the work of setting it aside ready for you and will then, anyway, have to put it all away again, regardless of whether or not you used it)...minus the standard €15 admin fee that is applied against any transaction that needs to be changed.
b) you can donate the money towards the enormous medical expenses linked to the care and welfare of the dogs.
Each item of kit hired costs a miminal €5 charge to hire...aka less than a fancy cup of coffee. Hence, when people choose to donate this unused facility, it starts to add up over the course of the season into something substantial enough to be beneficial to the dogs in terms of facilitating, for example, an extra castration or sterilisation.

What should I wear in winter?

Unless you are doing one of our longer husky safaris (our multiday safaris all include clothing and boots), then you will may be fine to wear your own winter clothing if your clothing is good enough to be outside in for multiple hours (depending on the ambient temperature and the tour in question). However, should the guides tell you that your kit and clothing is not sufficient based on their expert opinion, please adhere to their suggestions even if it means renting additional kit. We do not make these suggestions lightly and in 10 years of operating tours, we have seldom had people regret being warm on tour.

The onset of frostbite can occur in temperatures as high as -2C given the right extenuating circumstances and this is something that we want to avoid, for you, at all costs. We also want you to be able to enjoy your arctic experience as opposed to potentially shivering through it!

Normal Winter Clothing
When we say 'normal winter clothing' we basically mean the kind of things you would wear for downhill skiing (vs popping to the shop). ie:
• synthetic or woollen underwear
• synthetic or woollen liner socks
• one or more pairs of thicker woollen or Arctic socks (ensure that socks are big enough when worn in double
layers (thin layer first – no cotton). Tight socks restrict the blood flow).
• one or two base layers (depending on the temperature)
• One or two thinner woollen or fleece jumpers (powerstretch or micro-fleeces are ideal)
• One warm fleece, synthetic layer or gillet
• One pair of warm – eg fleece – trousers under your shell pants / sallopettes, unless your sallopettes are well padded
• 1 pair of thin under-gloves, eg Magic gloves
• 1 pair of warm gloves or mittens
• A lightweight hat, eg powerstretch
• A warm hat that also protects your ears – ideally in a wind-proof material
• A winter buff to protect your neck and face (can be purchased here). Balaclavas will also work
• A breathable shell and / or douvet jacket or snowmobile / padded ski jacket, depending on the time of year
• waterproof pants or sallopetes of reasonable thickness

Additional kit Suggestions
• Camera, batteries and film/extra memory. NOTE: If you have a digital camera; batteries do not last for as long in cold temperatures. • Sunglasses are recommended from February onwards to deal with the snow reflection
• Goggles are recommended through the season in case of extreme weather but we generally recommend not using them unless necessary because of the challenge of keeping them fog-clear.
• Sun cream (protection 25) is only needed from late January onwards
• Head torch – important depending on the time of day of your safari between November and February. Can be borrowed from us.
• A very small rucksack for carrying your spare clothing, camera etc can be worn on the back of the musher or held between the knees of the passenger. However, in general we prefer for you to take as little as possible with you, since it is just extra weight for the dogs to pull and for you to push up hills and it also upsets the balance of those driving for the first time.

Hiring Additional Kit and Clothing

Hire-kit and clothing is available if you wish.

Clients often try to argue with us - when we think that they are not wearing enough clothing to participate in the tour for any given temperature - that they just want to rent boots and gloves since the rest of their bodies are fine.

However, whenever we hear that argument, it just tells us that they do not understand how the physiology of the body works, when it is cold.

Essentially, (assuming the presence of no medical condition like raynauds), the body only pulls away circulation from the extremities when there is a risk to the main organs. Hence, the best way of ensuring that the feet and hands are warm, is to add a hat or to add a layer of clothing to the rest of the body. Being too hot is easy to fix on safari. Being too cold is not. Hence, if we recommend that you hire kit or clothing (since they are not included in our standard prices), please do so. It is in your best interest.

How cold does it get in Hetta?

In December, January and February the expected daytime temperature is between minus 5C and minus 30C, while at night it often falls to minus 40C. In March we expect minus 5C to minus 15C and by April, spring is in the air with temperatures of zero to minus 5C. We have a whole section of our website dedicated to 'when should I come' so that the old, young and people with medical conditions can choose an appropriate time of year for them to safely experience the arctic.

Will you run products during the dark during the polar night?

In January there is enough light for outdoor activities from about 9 am until 3 pm. The long twilight hours are coloured with hues of blue, creating a fairy-tale atmosphere. When there is a full moon the snow reflects so much light that outdoor activities are possible even at midnight. The days quickly get longer and by March sunrise is at 7 am. In the far north in May, there is almost 24 hours of light and the sun only dips below the horizon for a couple of hours.

Are the Safaris advertised as an exact Number of Kilometers or as an Exact Time?

We sell the safaris as, for instance, c. 12km and c. 2.5 - 3 hours. In other words, we try to give both approximate distances and the average time it takes us to cover those distances. Of course for winter products, the absolute length of each product varies by a few meters year on year since we create the routes at the start of the snow season and never follow exactly the same 'track'.

Sometimes people are upset because their tour takes a little longer or a little less time than advertised. However, we have to set the timings based on an average day when the dogs run at an average speed with an average number of teams and based on how quickly we normally, for instance, drive a given route with clients on snowmobiles. Any time there is a different number of teams from 'average', or the conditions are faster or slower than 'normal', the overall time taken to complete the safari will decrease or increase.

We sometimes end up with the tour finishing more quickly than advertised if the tracks are very icy (i.e. fast) or there are only 1 or 2 teams - since with 1 or 2 teams vs a 6 - 8 teams (pretty normal) vs 12 teams of dogs running. The time taking to do everything (move the group of people from A to B during the farm tour, settle them into their sleighs, set off on the safari etc), increases exponentially with the number of people participating. The likelihood of there being at least some issues within the group during the safari, for instance, obviously increases with the number of sleighs running. Hence, a private tour is likely to fly around any given route whereas a large group will take much longer.

We sometimes end up with the tour finishing later than predicted if, for instance, there is a large group or new snow, a storm or other challenging conditions for forward progress.

Our short 6km track, for instance, takes, on average, 30-40 minutes to complete. However, in super fast Spring conditions, with all of our good dogs, it may just 15 minutes and in the early part of winter after a fresh snowfall or in a storm or with a large group, it might take 1.5 hours. And the longer the tour, the more variation there might be from the predicted time to the actual time taken.

We obviously try to finish at the time given. Hence, we may adjust the number of dogs running per team to compensate for the speed of the tracks to try to ensure that the safari finishes on time. However, very occassionally, if we are running super late for any given reason - or the tracks are incredibly challenging for the dogs and clients, we might shorten the standard route to bring us home closer to the communicated time. Similarly, we might do a slightly longer route, in Spring, to again try to give people the time on safari that they are hoping for.

We use 'c.' in terms of kms communicated w.r.t. tour descriptions since we sell the tours based on an approximate number of km in order to try to return within a communicated window of time. We measure our standard routes on digital maps and of course the specific routes vary slightly from year to year depending on the snow conditions at the point at which we prepare and mark them. Early and late season routes may also vary from the norm for safety reasons and routes down the 'centre' of the lake are never in the same place two years in the row...hence there are always small but insignificant variations in distances from year to year.

We have occassionally had clients using their own GPS units question the length of the routes but in most cases we have found that their units have been set to measure only every few minutes, in order to save battery life, in which instance, the shorter straight-line route recorded doesn't really represent the longer curved-route actually followed on the ground. Hence, it is a good idea to check the frequency with which the route is recorded if you want to more accurately measure your distance covered or speed of travel.

Will I see the Northern Lights on a night-time safari?

This region has the highest rate of occurrence of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in Finland. This spectacle can be seen on average three out of four nights during the dark season, in clear weather. Hence, although you have a good chance of seeing the lights - whether just a green glow in the sky or a mesmerizing array of colours that run and weave across the heavens – and indeed, although you have an equally good chance of seeing shooting stars and a star-filled sky, we cannot guarantee a brilliant display on our night-time products. If you are unfortunate, don’t despair – there is still nothing quite like running through the wilderness by night with your trusted team of dogs.

Who will guide us and in what language?

Anna or Pasi or one of the Hetta Husky lead guides will greet and guide you during your safari experience. We try to match members of staff accompanying you to your language requirements but the final decision will always come down to the ability and skill of the guide with the dogs and with the route.

Within our guiding team, we normally have fluent (native) Finnish, English, German and French speakers and we fairly often have Dutch / Flemmish-speaking, Spanish speaking and Russian-speaking guides. However, we would need to know in advance if you have any language requirements so that we can try to staff accordingly, since otherwise any given member of staff might be on a day off.

As a general note, most people in Finland speak excellent English and you will have no trouble communicating with local people. If you would like to learn common greetings, etc, in Finnish, then we will be happy to help.

Can children rent equipment or go on safaris unaccompanied?

Sorry, we do not rent to unaccompanied minors and we seldom agree to take children on safaris unaccompanied (although occassionally we may agree to take children for a short ride on a cart/quad or sleigh if the parents take part in a farm tour and are, therefore, present at the start and end of the short ride). We can, however, offer classes and tours in most of the activities we offer to minors and you can, of course, hire kit or book tours for children when you are going in accompaniment with them (also if you have your own gear for adults and just need additional gear for your kids.

Our Kit Hire rental process:

First we ensure that the paperwork has been completed followed by a mandatory orientation and safety briefing as to how to use the equipment in question. This may last from 5 to 30 mins. depending on the equipment in question and ensures that you understand the proper use of our equipment so as to facilitate your safety and enjoyment. For kit rentals, we would also like you to let us know your intended route and journey timings for safety purposes.

Where can I park and is there somewhere to plug in my car?

We have a reasonably big yard, with designated areas for staff parking, but please park efficiently since yours might not be the only tour of the day and we also get large buses and delivery trucks coming into the yard.

Multi day vehicle parking is generally available to our multi-day safari participants and renters although we reserve the right to charge €5.00 per day if our space is nearing capacity. Check-in is required.

We do have meters that you can connect your car to, if you have your own cable and you are either taking part in a longer tour (eg over 20km) or if the temperature is extreemly cold (eg below -30C). The plug-in units have timers and run for a maximum of 2 hours so if you are on an overnight tour and need to pre-warm your car, you will need to arrange that with us and to hand in your keys.

Unfortunately, since our heating posts are on limited timers, it is not possible for those with camper vans to stay overnight.

Leave No Trace Policy (LNT):

We encourage all visitors to abide by a Leave No Trace philosophy. Our region has an extremely fragile eco-system and care must be exercised to minimize disturbance.