When to Come

Visitors to our farm will have plenty to do at any time of year, although from a dog’s perspective, there are four clearly distinct seasons;

1) the Mushing Season which runs from c. November through until end April, and which can be further sub-divided into:
• the Early Mushing Season ,
• the Mid-Winter Mushing Season, and
• the Spring Mushing Season; all of which are as fundamentally different in terms of mushing as are the weather conditions, daylight hours and temperatures encountered during each, as you can see from this temperature graph.

This graph provides a good insight into the temperatures you will likely encounter through the various winter months.

2) the Spring Training Season
3) the Summer Season.
4) the Autumn Training Season

Local people say that there are actually 8 distinct arctic seasons and this is pretty accurate. All of the seasons bring their own challenges and rewards so please look at this section carefully if you are, for instance, trying to choose between visiting in December or April for mushing. You will find that the experiences on offer are actually pretty different!

Early Mushing Season

We might be sledding as early as October or as late as end November. When we first start, we are restricted to just a few safaris: the first route opened each season is a 5km route close to the farm and then the next routes to be opened depend on whether the ice or snow conditions are better. By mid-December at latest we generally have the full range of our short-safari routes open.

At the start of January we start to open our longer Multiday Safari routes. We refer, therefore, to weeks 2-5 as 'Early Winter Trail Blazing' and people participating in multiday safaris at this time are looking at pretty challening arctic conditions with little light (ie a high liklihood of ending the days in the dark under the northern lights), unconsolidated trails and generally quite tough physical conditions. In other words, this is not the ideal time for the young or the elderly to try dog sledding for the first time since it can quite literally be a fairly extreme adventure.

Weeks 6-9, we refer to as the 'Frosty Depths of the Arctic Winter' or the start of the Mid-Winter Mushing Season. There is still a chance to see the picture-perfect arctic at the start of February (snow-laden trees etc, before the wind or the sun makes them bare) but it is harder to tell you what the conditions are going to be like. Sometimes the conditions and the cold can be even more intense than in the starting weeks of the season. At other times, they can be fairly easy and you might have relatively easy mushing. It is really a question of luck but at least one week in February tends to be pretty cold and at least one week tends to have the last huge dump of snow.

By week 10 we have entered the Spring Mushing Season. This is a fun time to mush since the snow not only starts to crystalise underfoot but the trails also get consolidated by other users. Everything starts, therefore, to get a tad easier and whilst some would say that the safaris are then less extreme, that is definitely not necessarily a bad thing. It gives both guides and dogs a chance to recover and customers a chance to actually have fun with the dogs and each other at the end of their days (as opposed to merely collapsing after their extreme adventures!). If you are worried about your fitness for whatever reason, we would recommend visiting from this time onwards.

By week 13, the Spring truly starts to awaken around us. The birds are singing, the hibernating animals wake up and leave trails in the snow and the trails are hard underfoot. Even the snow outside the trails solidifies to the extent that you start to be able to walk anywhere. This makes the entire landscape accessible and is a big bonus apart from on a few unpredictable days every year when everything is like a skating rink and it hurts a little more than normal (not at all) if you fall off your sleigh. The increased daylight hours also mean added fun in that there is lots of time to relax, sauna and enjoy the dogs and the nature around you in the long evenings. Our capacity to offer additional customised tours also increases at this time since the dogs are not only running the shorter safaris less often but they are also re-energised by running on the easier trails. This is a good time to visit with younger teenagers.

All good things come to an end but the last part of the season - the Spring Training Season is is actually one of the best times of the year. The high tundra trails are still open and there is a chance for some exploratory trips whilst back at base we are testing any and every trail that we come across, in the forest, perfecting the GEE HAW responses of the dogs. If the temperatures stay cold enough, we switch back to the quads at the end of this period so that we can, for instance, try out some of the pups. At this time of year, the activities discussed in our Autumn Training pages are also possible so it is a time when we sometimes offer quad taster rides and products such as 'days / weeks in the life of a husky guide'.

Once the temperatures rise consistently above 5 degrees C, it is time to pack up the mushing gear and to start to sunbathe, arctic style. The Summer Season is a time for repairing and fixing everything from the winter, for individual dog training and for cuddles. For clients there are a wide range of possible summer activities available throughHetta Huskies as well as in the wider area of Enontekiö.

All too soon, the Autumn Training Season is then on us again, and we start once more to train dogs and people for the season to come. More about this time of year can be found in our Autumn in Enontekiö section and in, for instance, our Autumn Training pages.