Mushing near the Arctic Circle in Sweden

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 5-11, 1998
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Mushing near the Arctic Circle in Sweden

Mushing near the Arctic Circle in Sweden
Question: I will be traveling to Sweden on business in mid-March, near Stockholm. I am planning to stay a few extra days and travel above the Arctic Circle in Sweden but don't know where to go. Please suggest some options. I would like to hike and explore the outdoors there. Any idea of the weather conditions?

Debbie Cohen
Highland Park, NJ

March may be the perfect month to travel to the Arctic Circle
Adventure Adviser: March, I hear, is the best time to travel to the Arctic Circle. The snow has settled, the temperatures are balmy (compared to December and January), and the daylight lasts longer than the mid-winter average of four hours.

The jumping-off point for outdoor adventures above the Arctic Circle in Sweden is a town called Kiruna — the world's second-largest city in area, filling 20,000 square kilometers. Here winter enthusiasts ice fish, snowshoe, ski, snowmobile, and dogsled from late November until early May.

In the arctic town of Jukkasjärvi there's a 5,000-square-foot ice hotel that is constructed each Christmas. Though you won't sleep on a bed of ice, you will be drinking vodka from a shimmering, translucent bar.

The rooms cost $80 to $100 per person. Call 011-46-980-66-800 for reservations, or you can call ScanAm World Tours (800-545-2204), an American company that offers an excursion from Stockholm to Kiruna to the hotel and back for $599 per person.

Lapland Wilderness Tours, a Swedish company you can access through Borton Overseas (800-843-0602), offers a seven-day introduction-to-dogsledding tour. You'll learn how to drive a team, take a few training runs, and then spend three or four days out in the Arctic wilds with just you and a pack of dogs. You generally need two people to book this trip, but Borton may willingly squeeze you in.

Before you leave, you should definitely plan to call either the Swedish tourist office in New York (212-949-2333) or write to the Svenska Turistföreningen, a national club that coordinates hotels, trains, youth hostels, and mountain huts all over Sweden. The only downfall is most of their literature is printed in Swedish. Write to them at Box 25, 10120 Stockholm. Their offices are located at Drottninggatan 31, Stockholm.

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