14 day Racing Experience
If you want to test your physical and mental limits and drive an actual race with your own team of 9 Alaskan Huskies, here’s your chance! Team Petter Karlsson offers the once in a lifetime chance for 3 guests to participate in the 590km Arctic Circle Sleddog Expedition in Spring 2023. After the inaugural race took place in 2021, PK Sleddogs is once again organizing this event and will offer an opportunity for guests to take part in this epic expedition.
March 24th 2023:
Arrival day. Guests arrive, will meet the team and the dogs and discuss the plan for the upcoming 2 weeks. We will also start preparing some gear and the sleds for the training runs in the days to follow.
March 25th and 26th:
Training days. You will drive your team of 9 dogs on two training runs and get used to drive a big team. Focus will be on the correct way to drive a race team and getting used to work with a big team. You will start to get to know your dogs and learn how to take care of them before and after a run as well as working with them during a run.
Rest day for the dogs. You will take care of the dogs and make sure they are in a great shape for what’s ahead. On this day we will teach you a lot about camping on the trail and how to take care of the dogs during the race. We will prepare everything for the camping training on the next day.
Camping traing! On this day we will go out and train stopping out on the trail. We will do 2 camping stops and you can work on your camping routines. It will be a long day and there will be some night driving too.
We will return home from the camping training and take care of the dogs. You will have seen and learned a lot in the camping training and we will have enough time to talk about everything and answer your many questions.
March 30th and 31st:
The last two days before the race the dogs will get a rest. Our focus will be on caring for the dogs and making sure that they are in the best possible shape for the race. We will use these two days to prepare our gear, the dog food and everything else needed for the race. The better we prepare, the easier it will be in the race. Also resting and some good nights of sleep will be important before the race.
The big day is here! 10am the Arctic Circle Sleddog Expedition starts and you will embark on the biggest adventure of your life! In the next 5 days you will be out in the stunning Vindelfjällen Nature reserve and beyond, crossing the Arctic Circle by dogsled and cover around 590km of beautiful trails.
April 2nd to 4th
Arctic Circle Sleddog Expedition. See race plan below for details.
Expected finish around noon. After finishing we will take care of the dogs first, then have a well deserved shower and have a finishers banquet in the evening.
Taking care of the dogs and enjoy some time with them. Resting and putting all the gear away used during the race.
It’s already time to say goodbye. After a last round through the dog yard to say goodbye to your dogs it’s time to go back to civilization and travel back home.
The race starts on April 1st at 10.00 in Slussfors. There will be a checkpoint in Ammarnäs and then another one in Vuoggatjalme. Teams will not be allowed to leave Vuoggatjalme before 21.00 on April 2nd.
The 3 guests will be guided by Matthias Schärer, and experienced guide himself and 2nd place finisher in the Arctic Circle Sleddog Expedition in 2021. All 4 teams will usually travel within some kilometers of each other, but all guests must be prepared to lead the group or drive on their own, navigating with maps and GPS. It is possible that due to bad weather or other circumstances you will be out in the mountains on your own for some hours, having to take care of yourself and your dogs. One week of preparations is a very small time to prepare for such a big expedition, therefore we must rely on all guests to always listen to the guides and have the safety of the dogs and themselves as the most important task on their mind.
The race will start at 10.00. We will drive for only 4h and then take a 4h rest. This will set us up for starting out again at 18.00. After that we will stick to a 6h drive/6h rest schedule throughout the race. At the end of each 6h run the team that runs in front will look out for a good place to camp and then all 4 teams will camp out together. If questions arise your guide Matthias will be able to help you out. Petter Karlsson will follow the race on a snowmobile and will also stop by from time to time to look after the dogs and make sure everything is fine. After a day or two you will be in a good rhythm of camping out and driving and be able to enjoy being out with the dogs. But don’t underestimate the April weather in the mountains! From cold nights (-20 degrees is possible) to sunny days with above 0 temperatures and sunburns in your face to rain and snowstorms everything is possible and we will probably encounter most of it.
Who will be our guides?
Finnmarkslopet and Femundlopet Champion Petter Karlsson will be organizing the Arctic Circle Sleddog Expedition as well as be your main instructor during the preparation. He has over 20 years of experience in driving races and guiding tours and knows exactly what it takes to get you to a level where you can drive such a long and challenging race by yourself. Also during the race he will be around, following the race on a snowmobile and making sure that you and the dogs stay safe.
During the race Matthias Schärer will drive together with you and be your guide. He has 3 years of experience as a guide and musher at Team Petter Karlson. Other than guiding many tours and expeditions he has finished 2nd in the Arctic Circle Sleddog Expedition 2021 and 13th in the 650km Femundlopet in 2022.
What experience do I need to participate?
We expect interested people to have at least completed one longer tour with Team Petter Karlsson Sleddogs. If you haven’t been with us yet and want to participate we would need proof that you have some knowledge in driving dogs from other places, preferably in an expedition setting.
What do I need to sign up?
Get in touch with us if you are interested. We will schedule a phone call with you to talk about it and make sure you really understand what you are getting yourself into… 😊
Will there be any training before March 2023?
Yes, Included in the price is a 5h online training course together with Matthias Schärer, who will teach you what it takes to take part in a long distance sleddog race and how to best prepare for it if you have never done so. Of course Petter and Matthias will also be available for any questions you might have before you get to Slussfors.
What is included?
Included in the price is all necessary gear to drive the race (except mandatory emergency clothing), accommodation and meals.
What you need to bring is a set of spare (winter) clothes that we pack in a waterproof bag and that will be part of the mandatory gear (we’ll teach you about that before the race). Also not included are snacks you might need during the race. We will also talk about those in the online training course. Your are also responsible for your own travel arrangements to and from Slussfors.
Will I be able to complete the race?
If you learn fast, are in a good physical shape and are mentally strong, your chances are good. However there are many things that can go wrong in a race. Dogs can get injured, people can get tired and there are many other reasons for teams not to finish. You need to be aware that on most races 30-50% of the teams will not reach the finish line and in order to not be one of them you need to follow all the instructions, drive the dogs in a very safe manner and be focused on your team and the task ahead at all times.
Can I be withdrawn from the race?
If you fail to keep up with the group and start to struggle with the task ahead, Team Petter Karlsson has the authority to withdraw you from the race. Of course before we withdraw you we will try to find ways to keep you in the race and to have you finish it, but before you will put yourself, the dogs or other people in dangerous situations, we will take you out of the race.
What can I do to prepare in the best possible way?
Our online training course will cover the best ways for rookies to prepare for long distance racing.
Can I bring along friends and family to watch the race?
Your friends need to know that watching a sleddog race on site is 5% excitement and 95% waiting on the teams to show up. The Arctic Circle Sleddog Expedition will take place in a very remote area and other than the Start/Finish and the 4 checkpoints there is nowhere where bystanders can watch the race trailside. Due to our schedule we will most likely drive through all the checkpoints and not spend much time there, so there’s not much time to say hi to your loved ones during the race. If they want to follow anyway let us know and we can see what we can arrange.
Will I get to drive the same dogs as in my last tour?
Let us know what dogs you had on your last tour and we will do our best to have them running in your team again!
If I drive a bit faster than the others, can I beat them?
Even though it is a race, for us it will be an expedition. The biggest challenge will be to even make it to the finish line, so don’t even think about racing. Driving too fast and too hard in the beginning of a race will lead to your dogs getting tired and injured faster, so the real winner will be the team that has been driving slow and careful and stands at the finish line with still all 9 dogs in harness. There will be professional teams in this race that will probably finish more than 1 day ahead of you, so to answer your question: If you start racing the only one you will beat is yourself.
If I have a problem will there always be someone to help me?
Of course we are nearby to help, but you are expected to be self sufficient and be able to help yourself in most cases. It will be a tough race for everyone involved anyway and it will not be possible for other people to constantly be there to help you.