* Places for autumn 2020 and winter 2020-2021 have been filled *
We have 88 Siberian huskies for racing and running husky tours in Lapland's wilderness. We also have some log cabins for rent year round, a traditional restaurant and other outdoor activities including snowmobiling, snowshoe hiking, cross-country skiing, ice-fishing, canoeing and windsurfing.
Our inn is the oldest tourism business in this region of Lapland, situated 50km north of the Arctic Circle. Our family's forefathers were pioneers who first settled here back in 1733.
We have been hosting workawayers since 2010 and we have had approx 200 great applications per year. Unfortunately we can only take around 10-15 per year, but it's always worth a try!
One of the great benefits of a cultural exchange is gaining a more realistic understanding of the world, dispelling assumptions, generalizations and prejudices.
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 our dogs and clean the kennels, you will also learn how to train dogs if you are here in the autumn, and how to drive dog sleds and snowmobiles in winter. And in summer you'll learn how to groom and prepare dogs for shows, hike with huskies and swot mosquitoes! You can also learn to fish and forage if you want to join us doing this - we go fishing in nearby lakes and pick wild berries and mushrooms in our never-ending forest. Maybe you'll also learn how to swim in our own lake or row a boat! You can also learn about the wilderness and the way the locals live up here too, if you are keen to explore places nearby.
Hopefully, you will learn how to dress properly for the weather, 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 polish your social skills, so you can be free of biases and accepting of all.
Our working language is English, so you can improve that too, and if you want a challenge, we can teach you some Finnish - one of the most difficult languages in the world!
A couple of our previous volunteers have recorded their workaway travel experiences in their blogs. If you are thinking of coming here, check them out: one is called Stray adrift, (go to Husky diaries), and another from a few years back called The other fork in the road. The famous quote by naturalist Alexander von Humboldt here sums things up quite well: “The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.” So just chosing to travel, here or anywhere, may hopefully help to broaden your own worldview ;)
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 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.
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 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 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, 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 for other meals food is provided for you to prepare according to your own timetable. We do not provide food for special dietary requirements such as vegan, halal or kosher. When we have guests using the restaurant in winter, your breakfasts and dinners can be eaten there with our kids.
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 or travelling by bus 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, we will send you additional information, and once you've read through that, we require that you send a detailed CV, complete with two references: one character and one work, for safety reasons.
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 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! 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
Can host families
More than two
On average 5 hrs/day, 5 days/week
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