The dog sledding metropolis of Alta is home to one of the wise old hands of Norwegian dog sledding, Trine Lyrek. She loves to take both novice and experienced mushers into the pine forests and up on the Finnmark plateau. On her trips, she also takes the very best camping food, thanks to her partner.
It only took a single dog sledding trip at college for Trine to realise that dog sledding was for her. Since then, life has revolved around dog sledding, with both the Finnmarksløpet race and the legendary Iditarod race in Alaska on her list of achievements. But this doesn’t mean you have to be an experienced musher in order to join her on a trip.
Everyone can take part in dog sledding
A short dog sledding excursion is something everyone is capable of, according to Trine. On the short trips of less than three hours, novice mushers can quickly learn how to handle the dogs. Trine wants everyone to have a go. She will happily stand on the runners behind nervous guests supporting them while they struggle to keep their balance. Two people share the sled, one drives and one sits. When it’s time to swap over, Trine makes sure everyone gets a go, so the wife doesn’t simply let her husband drive the whole time, for example. By doing this, Trine makes sure even the first-timers leave with a strong sense of achievement.
Longer days mean longer tours
Past the middle of January, when the sun bathes the peaks on the plateau in gold and the shadows linger between the pine trees down in the valley of Altadalen, Trine sets out on yet another adventurous trip on the Finnmark plateau, sledding through the powder snow and the enchanting blue light. From the end of March through to the end of April, when the days are long and the worst of the cold is but a distant memory, it’s time for long excursions. Trine puts together a programme consisting of 3-, 4-, 5- and 8-day trips. On these trips, it is often possible to travel 20 miles a day, with overnight stops in the mountain cabins on the Finnmark plateau. The longest trip also takes in three overnight stays in tents.
Trine’s partner is a master chef who prepares the food
On long trips, there is nothing to beat a delicious hot midday meal. That’s when it is handy to have a partner who prepares the world’s best camping food. Nothing is freeze-dried or cold. That’s because Johnny Trasti is a master chef with his own restaurant. Alta has a sheltered inland location, with plenty of stable, crisp and cold winter weather. Tree-clad valley bottoms, mountains and the Finnmark plateau in the south make for a varied landscape in which to drive dogs, so Trine has never had to cancel a trip. Drawing on her excellent local knowledge, she and her mushers always know where to go.
The dogs are trained experts in their profession
Trine’s dogs are elite athletes. The 60 huskies are used not only for short tourist circuits, they also take part in the Finnmarksløpet race, Europe’s longest dog sledding race, and are able to run without a break for seven to eight hours. This means that on long trips it is possible to drive the dogs as long as the light late winter nights permit, and then simply set up camp when you feel like it — all safe in the knowledge that the dogs are having as much fun as you are.
The best reward comes after a days sledding
Situated in a pine forest a few kilometres from the centre of Alta is Trine’s dog compound. The reward for all that effort is waiting here too, namely partner Johnny Trasti’s restaurant, perfect for rounding off a trip with a first-class gourmet meal with Finnmark as the theme.
Join Trasti and Trine for a day out and some good food