Special offer

£75 off registration fees for you and a friend

Enter code: FRIENDS75 when booking

*Offer valid until 30 June 2018. Exclusions apply

Sat 19 Jan - Fri 25 Jan 2019

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Typical day

Are the dogs friendly?

How many dogs will I be driving?

Safety

Responsible Tourism

Flights

Visa

Insurance

Vaccinations

Climate & Terrain

Will I see the Northern Lights?

Training

Luggage allowance and valuables

Leadership

Group Size

Clothing and equipment

Accommodation & Toilets

Food & Drink

Money

Phone and WiFi

Emergencies

Level of Difficulty

The Dog Sledding challenge is graded as “Moderate”. This is the perfect challenge for participants who are of an adventurous spirit and an open mind, but perhaps haven’t taken on a strenuous challenge event previously and are hoping to put themselves out of their comfort zone!

You can tell your supporters that on your Dog Sledding Challenge you will be:

  • Sledding for around 5-7 hours per day
  • Covering almost 200km across 5 days of hiking
  • Using your core strength to control the sled
  • Sleeping in temperatures that can reach -40 celsius
  • Over-nighting in very basic wilderness cabins, where the toilets are outside and you will room together in one room
  • Taking charge of and looking after your own set of dogs. You will see to their needs before yours

Typical day

You will wake early in time to feed your dogs before having breakfast. You will then begin driving your dogs for 35-45kms per day, stopping for lunch en-route.  There will be plenty of refreshment stops, and opportunities to take photos. In the evening you will arrive at your wilderness hut where you will have dinner and sleep.

Are the dogs friendly?

All the dogs are sociable, friendly and love attention. A cuddle and lots of love is greatly appreciated by our four legged friends!

How many dogs will I be driving?

As a rule of thumb you will be driving 3 or 4 dogs. Most people will drive 4 dogs, but some may use 3. This may seem like a small number, but you should not be fooled by their size – they are incredibly strong. All dog teams drive at the same speed, so you have to take into consideration the weight of the sled and equipment as well as your own weight and that of everyone else on the expedition. Do also keep in mind that you have to learn to be in control of your dog team, and not vice versa.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of our participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up Challenge Safe, one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. Challenge Safe formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the challenge activity itself. Your welfare is absolutely paramount!

In terms of your Dog Sledding challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • The temperatures could reach down to -40 degrees Celsius at night, so appropriate winter clothing and equipment is absolutely essential
  • You will be working closely with the dogs, who are excitable and boisterous. This will be difficult for anyone with a fear of animals
  • You could be up to 8 hours from evacuation, with evacuation procedures involving a snowmobile (!) to the main road. Participants with any medical condition that might require urgent medical attention may want to consider this before booking.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism pages, where you will be able to view a list of the projects that we currently support.

Flights

You will be flying from London to Kiruna via Stockholm. The flight will take approx. 5 hours. The airline and routing will be confirmed 1 month prior to departure.  Your flight tickets will be issued to you on the day of departure at the airport.

If you choose to book your own flights you must confirm with the Charity Challenge office before paying otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights (please contact flights@charitychallenge.com for further assistance).

Visa

A full passport is required with six months to run from the end of the expedition, but no visa is necessary for British Citizens.

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge.

If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Vaccinations

UK citizens require no compulsory immunisation. For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx.

Charity Challenge team are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your GP or travel nurse to discuss vaccination requirements. Your GP may ask questions about the specific locations that you are visiting, and as such it may be useful to take a copy of your itinerary with you.

Climate & Terrain

Climate

The temperatures range from -5C up to -45C! It is difficult to predict what temperature it is going to be but on average:

  • December and January are the coldest months – it is the darkest time of the year with very little if any sunshine as the sun does not cross the horizon from December through to January.
  • February is a great month as the temperatures are still very cold but the sun starts showing itself a little more each day.
  • March is wonderful too as the temperatures are usually milder and the sun is shining brighter and longer! But don’t be fooled, even in March it is possible to have an evening with -30C.
  • April still has snow but things start to get warm. Sometimes it is so warm that you can mush in t-shirts!
  • May only allows for mushing in the high mountains near the Norwegian border where the snow still persists.

The cold is a very dry cold. People are often surprised when the temperature is -15 C but it feels more like -5C in a humid climate. Nevertheless when you are driving a sled you will also experience wind chill, which adds to the cold!

Terrain

This dog sledding challenge has varied snow filled terrain surrounded by trees and a surprising number of hills. You will need a great deal of core strength and balance to cope with the ascents and descents.

Will I see the Northern Lights?

Your challenge is located about 200kms above the Arctic Circle. Due to the location you have a greater chance of catching a glimpse of this magnificent spectacle. This is not guaranteed, of course, as it is a natural phenomenon and dependent on nature’s influences!

Training

A good level of fitness is required due to the challenging nature of the terrain and the need to often get off and push or run with the sled to help it navigate through trees and up hills. You do not need to have any previous experience in driving your own team of dogs but you DO need to be fit. Driving a pack of Huskies is very tiring at times and you will be standing on your feet all day. Anyone can drive a dog team as long as you are focused and willing to listen and learn. You will also be taught how to take care of your team of dogs, including the ins and outs of mushing!

Luggage allowance and valuables

As no formal clothes are needed, luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum - details on what to pack are provided in your Kit List. Your rucksack or holdall must not exceed 20kg in weight (suitcases are not appropriate as they won’t fit in the sled).

Leadership

There will be an English-speaking challenge leader who will be responsible for the logistics and co-ordination of your challenge. The challenge leader will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Group Size

Each group is intended to be a minimum of 8 people in order to run and a maximum of 10 people due to the wilderness environment in which the challenge takes place. We will be able to run this challenge for 6 to 7 people by charging a small group supplement of £75  which will be added to your final balance invoice (self-funders) or charged to your charity (minimum sponsorship or flexi).

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. In Sweden, you will be provided with the specialist winter snowsuits, mittens, hats and shoes that you will need while you are sledding. However, you will need to bring very warm clothes to wear underneath and when around the cabins in the evening. Woollen socks are a must, as cotton does not work well in extremely cold conditions, and you should bring some salopettes or skiing trousers with you to wear when not sledding. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here, and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners Outdoorhire, Cotswold Outdoor and Cycle Surgery.

Accommodation & Toilets

Accommodation

During the challenge your accommodation will be in shared facilities and living quarters. In the wilderness huts, you will not have access to electricity or running water. You will fetch water from the lake for the dogs and washing, chop your own wood and use it to keep warm and prepare food with, for yourself and for your dogs. To compensate for the otherwise Spartan conditions, you will happily be able to relax in the sauna for an evening (if it's warm enough)!

Toilets

The wilderness cabins have outside toilets. Toilet paper is provided, though it is worth bringing a supply of your own for during the day whilst on the sledges. You should also bring your own towel with you for washing & saunas.

Food & Drink

Expedition food will be very filling, nutritious and sourced locally – it includes reindeer, moose, and Swedish meatballs! Plenty of drinking water will be available to keep you hydrated. You might want to bring some extra snacks, such as energy bars, nutri-grains, dried fruits etc, however you generally have plenty of food available on this challenge. Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Money

Currency: The Krona, which is subdivided into 100 öre. For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com

Cash: There are ATMs available at the airport and in Kiruna at the end of the challenge. This is the best source of obtaining currency whilst you are in Sweden.

Credit cards: Credit cards and travellers cheques are reliable. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are the most widely accepted cards and may be used at cash points. In smaller towns, banks will not necessarily have cash points.
travellers cheque.Foreign denomination traveller’s cheques, postal cheques and bank notes may be exchanged for Swedish currency at any bank.

Spending money: You will not need large amounts of money during this trip. Credit cards are accepted and there are ATMs in Kiruna. To help you budget, prices in Sweden are as follows: GBP5-8 per beer in a restaurant, GBP2-6 per beer in a shop, GBP1.50 per glass of soft drink, GBP25 per bottle of wine in a restaurant. Approximately £100 in Krona should be sufficient but please take more if you plan to extend your stay, drink a lot, or buy souvenirs.

Tipping: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. You should only tip if you feel that you have received good service. We recommend approx. GBP£10-15 per participant per day and this should be given to the expedition leader at the end of the expedition who will distribute it amongst the local support team. In bars and restaurants tips are very common and are about 10% of the total bill.

Phone and WiFi

You will have phone signal in Kiruna, as well as access to WiFi. However, this is the last place that you will be able to make contact with the outside world. Once in the wilderness cabins, there is no WiFi access, and phone signal comes in-and-out of range. In addition, there is no electricity in the cabins and you won’t be able to charge your camera or phones. However, if you want to bring a solar charger this will work very well in late February to March, as the days are longer and the skies are clearer than earlier in Winter.

Emergencies

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s ability, which is allowed for. The challenge is run at the pace of the slowest sledge so no one will ever be left behind! If we find somebody is unable to continue, then we can transport him or her from one location to the next with the help of our staff.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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