Both Robert and Sissel are eager outdoors-people with years of tour experience - in extreme Arctic conditions as well as relaxed tours through the mainland forests. We have travelled around large parts of Svalbard, in summer and winter, and been challenged by summer weather, winter weather, the king of the arctic - the polar bear, as well as many other hiccups, both big and small.
We both fell in love with Svalbard and spent many holidays up here individually before we met by chance. It didn't take long before we moved permanently to Longyearbyen, a choice that we never regret. Robert has competed successfully in long distance dogsledding for years. Plaques from the 'Finnmarkløpet' and 'Femundløpet' hang with a number of diplomas from other events on our trophy wall.
Robert looks after the practical side of the business along with our guides. Sissel, who is an accountant, makes sure all the paperwork is in order, and steps in as a guide when things get hectic. 50 Fantastic Alaskan Huskies live in our kennels. We have huskies of all ages, each with his or her own personality and attitude. The one thing they all have in common is a very social streak. All the dogs are friendly, kind and happy whenever anyone comes to visit. The dogs have grown up with a focus on socialising, and are used to meeting strangers and old friends, children and adults. They meet new people every day. This provides a good basis for social, happy dogs whom no one should be scared of.
The Alaskan Husky is a crossbreed which can be traced back to Northern American Indian dogs. Over thousands of years these dogs have become a robust, social and friendly breed which loves to live out in the harsh Arctic conditions. We have, on several occasions, noticed that the dogs don't to go inside, even when it’s blowing a gale and the temperature is -30°C!
Over the course of history this crossbreed has been strengthened by breeding in the attributes of other breeds, including various hunting breeds and other polar dogs. The result is that the Alaskan Husky is the dog-sledding world's equivalent of a marathon runner. These dogs are very healthy and hardy, and can live long lives without any veterinary care. They are fed twice a day and groomed daily. They are happy dogs who are living the life they were made for. BIRK is an older gentleman of 10 years, who has seen just about everything and always understands what we want from him. His strong suit is GPS skills - he is an expert at finding lost tracks. It is a joy to stand back on the sled and see how he thinks and then tries different methods to find the right track. Out on the sea ice he seems to know that he needs to keep his distance from ice clumps to prevent the sled from crashing into them. He is so mature and experienced that he thinks he should get to decide where we are going. Sometimes we have to 'discuss' the situation until he accepts that we know best. Sometimes we have been wrong!
FRØYA is our queen: she recognises the commands for left and right, but prefers to just do whatever she wants! Just like Birk she is very good at choosing the right tracks, and her choices are often the best. She is from the 'Norse Gods' litter - the best group in the kennel. Frøya is mother to many of our dogs, including the C-litter, and has given us a lot of promising pups. Her best quality is that she never gives up or gets bored.
CARMEN is Frøya's daughter and is a member of our C-litter; all named for actors. She is a little over a year old, and is already a promising lead dog. With her ice blue eyes and thick fur, she is a beautiful young lady. We are 100% sure that she is going to take us on many fantastic tours, and we look forward to following her lead.
ANTON-BERG. Anton is a wild young man. He was an only child and had all of his mother's milk to himself. He was the fattest puppy we had ever seen, and now he shows great talent as a lead dog. We have never seen him lose his nerve. He always wants to go faster, and takes charge if he thinks the team needs to pick up the pace. It can be a bit of a challenge to get him into his harness - he is so eager to set out that the scene might just remind you of a rodeo!
DINGO doesn't look like the other dogs. She is small, with short fur, but she is built for speed. When pulling a sled she keeps a cracking pace and is a fantastic leader. Out at the dog yard she likes to run loose and tease the other dogs. Due to her short fur she stays at home with us during the winter, where she prefers to take over our sofa. She also makes sure that we sort our rubbish, and if we forget she helps out by spreading it throughout the entire house! Dingo is easily tempted, and quickly localises anything edible. She will help herself to your chocolate if she gets the chance. Dingo is always happy!