We have 72 Siberian huskies for racing and running husky tours in Lapland's wilderness, as well as snowmobiles and reindeer. We also have some log cabins for rent year round, a traditional restaurant and other outdoor activities. (Scroll down for more pictures.)
Our inn is the oldest tourism business in this region of Lapland, situated 50km north of the Arctic Circle. Our family's forefathers were the first to settle here back in 1733.
Before applying, please check our calendar for possible vacancies.
We have been hosting workawayers since 2010 and we have had approx 200 great applications per year. Unfortunately we can only take around 10 per year, but it's always worth a try!
Helping with Tourists
One of the great benefits of a cultural exchange is gaining a more realistic understanding of the world, dispelling assumptions, generalizations and prejudices. One of our previous volunteers recorded her workaway travel experiences a few years back in an interesting blog, the other fork in the road. She recently added this quote by naturalist Alexander von Humboldt: “The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.” So just chosing to travel may hopefully help to broaden your worldview ;)
What you learn depends on how proactive, motivated and receptive you are, and of course, what time of year you travel. In addition to learning how to care for the dogs, clean the kennels and the cabins, you will also learn how to train dogs in the autumn and drive dog sleds and snowmobiles in winter. And in summer you might learn how to prepare dogs for shows. You can also learn to fish and forage if you want to join us doing this - we pick wild berries and mushrooms in our forest and go fishing in our lakes. You can learn about the way others live up here too if you are keen to explore places nearby.
Hopefully, you will learn how to dress properly for the weather too, and how to be sensible in our challenging conditions, while still providing service with a smile. You will need to learn to do less appealing tasks, quickly, logically and to a high standard. Also, you will be living and dealing with people from different cultures and with different personalities, so we hope you will also learn and improve good social skills, so you can be free of biases and accepting of all.
Our working language is English, so you can learn or improve that too, and if you want a challenge, we can teach you some Finnish - one of the most difficult languages in the world!
Help is mostly needed in looking after our huskies, which includes training, exercising, grooming and feeding them, as well as cleaning and maintaining the kennel area. This involves taking dogs for walks/runs, brushing the dogs when they blow their coats, preparing their daily food (handling raw pork, beef, chicken, fish, elk and reindeer meat and bones), as well as cleaning up the dogs poop. Sometimes we have puppies that require extra attention and feeding.
In the spring, summer and autumn, (May-September), help is also needed in the garden and the forest. We grow our own potatoes and some organic fruit, cut and chop our own firewood and clear or maintain forest paths, and we usually fix or make improvements in our husky kennel area, our house and other buildings, so help is needed in all these areas too. During this time volunteers can visit for one month or more.
In October and November, once the weather has cooled enough, we need help with training the dogs in preparation for winter sledding. Then throughout the winter and into spring, (November-April), we need help with the range of activities offered to our guests in addition to the normal kennel routine. Also, extra help is needed with training and conditioning the dogs that will be participating in sled-dog races. During this time we prefer to to have volunteers here for around three months at a time, starting either at the beginnning of October or January.
Additionally, both in the summer and winter, some cabin cleaning and laundry will need to be done when necessary.
English, Finnish, a little French, Spanish, German and Swedish
In spring, summer and autumn the accommodation for our volunteers is in our rustic lumberjack's log cabin (picture below), which is equipped with normal modern conveniences and located next door to our own house. In winter the accommodation is in another house of ours over the road.
In the cabin there are 3 pairs of bunk beds; one in a separate bedroom, another in an alcove off the living room, and the third in the living room area. There is also a small kitchen area, tables, sofa, fireplace and TV, WiFi and a washroom with wc, shower and washing machine. The cabin is electrically heated and has running hot and cold water. The house has the same facilities but with separate private bedrooms for each volunteer. The sauna is by the lake. All our accommodation is non-smoking. Usually we have 1-4 volunteers depending on how busy the season is and we allocate placements so that they are either all male, all female, or for a couple.
Recuperating or injured huskies live with you in the cabin or house, and the other huskies can "stay over" when there's room. Unfortunately we cannot accommodate your own pets because of this.
We normally eat workday lunches together, and dinner together once a week, otherwise food is provided for you to prepare according to your own timetable. We do not provide food for special dietary requirements such as vegetarian, vegan, halal or kosher. While we have guests in winter, breakfasts and dinners are eaten together with our kids in the restaurant.
Our dogs are lively, happy and strong individuals that require confident handling, personal attention and lots of gentle TLC (tender loving care) too! It is physically demanding and can be in unpleasant or extreme weather conditions, so you should be healthy, have a good back, plenty of energy, a good level of strength and fitness and you must not mind getting dirty. However, we are not looking for wannabe survival experts, even though you will learn some of those skills in winter by default. Hours will vary according to the requirements of our dogs and guests, and during quieter times we usually keep to an average of five hours per day. However, additional hours are necessary in winter when we have more guests, and some days can be very long. On those days, you will need to participate in a variety of tasks and you will have to push yourself to new limits.
In your free time you can explore the area and take part in the activities available here and in our tiny village community. For example, during the summer it is possible to go cycling, canoeing, swimming, hiking and fishing, and in winter cross-country skiing, skijoring, snow-shoe trekking and ice-fishing. Many other summer and winter sports are available in nearby resorts and hitch-hiking around the region is quite easy. If you like reading, writing, photography, etc. or need to study, there is usually time for that too. And on clear nights from autumn to spring you can go out into the garden and watch for the northern lights - the aurora borealis.
Days in summer will sometimes be rainy, or cold, or hot, or humid, surrounded by mosquitos! Days in winter can be mild, cold or very, very cold. We are a place of extremes: in 1999 the temperature ranged from -53C in February to +32C in June! Although we live in a very sparsely populated area, a good range of shops and other services are about an hour away by car or bus. The compensation for our remoteness, however, is that we are situated by a beautiful little lake surrounded by the largest wilderness forest in the world - the taiga.
We have many, many applicants for a very limited number of places. If our calendar is full and you are flexible with travel dates, please consider being on our waiting list for places which become available at short notice. And please be patient when waiting for a reply - we try to answer all enquiries, but we are sometimes so busy that we do not have time to answer enquiries for many days/weeks. After initial communications and once you have been provisionally accepted, we will send you additional information with much more detail on what happens throughout the year to help prepare you for your visit. We require that you also send a detailed CV, complete with two references: one character and one work.
So, please only apply if you are highly motivated, have a positive nature and lots of energy, and are genuinely interested in dogs and the North. We expect our volunteers to be helpful and flexible in our sometimes difficult Arctic conditions, and really eager to participate wholeheartedly in all types of activities necessary. We should not be only considered as your holiday destination, and we are not a charity. While here, we will endeavor to teach you about huskies, sustainable countryside tourism, the culture, lifestyles and traditions of Lapland and the wonders of the Arctic wilderness, but only if you want to listen and learn! We try to give a lot to those with the right attitude, aiming for a workaway experience which will be mutually rewarding.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
On average 5 hrs/day, 5 days/week