SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Trip to Sweden

Aliy and Allen traveled to Sweden earlier this month to exchange knowledge and passion for mushing internationally. The entire journey was a fantastic experience. The sled dog enthusiasm in Scandinavia might even surpass Alaska's. The Kiruna Slädhundklubb (Kiruna Sled Dog Club) put together a fantastic seminar with several hundred participants. The speakers were Mats Pettersson, Torsten Kohnert, Dr Dominique Grandjean, Egil Ellis and Helen Lundberg - plus Aliy and Allen.

They flew into Kiruna, Sweden which is 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The town is a very popular winter tourist destination for people from all over the world. There is a spectacular Ice Hotel right in town and numerous dog sledding tour operations. Nearly every dog musher in the area has at least a small amount of tourism on their calendar.

Mats Pettersson and his wife, Lotta, were perfect hosts to the Alaskans for several days. Their home and dog kennel are in Kiruna. They run a very busy and successful tour operation as well as a long distance racing outfit. Mats has competitively raced the Iditarod for the last 2 years and will be bringing a team over for the race again this coming year. It is a tremendous ordeal to organize the logistics of traveling from Sweden. SP Kennel's 350 mile drive from Two Rivers to the Iditarod's Anchorage start seems trivial.

Allen, Aliy and their Swedish hosts Lotta and Mats Pettersson; At the Pettersson's kennel it's a family affair: Mom is harnessing dogs, Dad gets the team ready, 1 year old Frja sits in the baby stroller at the head of the team and 4 year old Zeb is playing with some of his puppies!

Mats drove Aliy and Allen on a whirlwind tour of Sweden and northeastern Norway. They saw local Kiruna kennels as well as visited Sven Engholm's operation in Karasjok. They also saw the kennel of Trine Lyrek in Alta and had time to chat over lunch with Norwegian musher Roger Dahl. Mats then brought them to the home of his good friend and Sami native, Taisto Tanurus. While at his home they enjoyed a home-cooked Sami meat sandwich - fat drippings and all! Taisto's favorite working dog is named "Nachto", so Aliy took plenty of pictures of him!

Sven Engholm has a magnificent lodge in Norway; Mats and Aliy enjoy Taisto's lunch.

Ulf Blomquist and Anette Johansson welcomed them to their home for a final Swedish meal and plenty of sled dog company. Ulf drove Aliy and Aliy to Hege Ingebrigtse's world class sprint mushing kennel. It sits on a steep hillside overlooking a fjord.

Hege's dog yard overlooks a Norwegian fjord; Allen visits with the kennel mascot.

The entire trip to Sweden was FANTASTIC. Aliy and Allen learned lots, met great people and were thoroughly rejuvenated by the dog mushing passion of Scandanavia. They did spend a day and a half (without chaperones) in Stockholm. Allen said that he found the language a little 'challenging'… especially while looking for a lunch spot on the street corner.

The Alaskans pose in front of a church built in 1652.

Allen looks for lunch! I don't think we are in Arkansas anymore!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much for this wonderful report!!!

I especially love Allen's menu challenge - and Nacho must have been very interested in knowing he as an almost-namesake in Sweden!

Thanks again,


Inge Lockwood said...

Regarding "Allen visits with the kennel mascot"--by the ears and the paws, that mascot is at least part greyhound. Given that short coat, very unusual to find so far north.

A-town's Becky said...

Food? LOL!
What an awesome recap of your BUSY trip.
Thank you to all your hosts who kept you close, in the know, housed, entertained, and well fed.
Thanks for share the great pics.

Cindy Schaus said...

This is so awesome. I love the pic of the dog yard overlooking a fjord. Norway is the land of my ancestors, but its been been several generations since they crossed over the ocean to America. Someday I will make a trip there...just like someday I will make a trip to Alaska.

Nessmuk said...

Wow....sounds like a whirlwind Trip!! Glad to hear the Sled Dog Passion extends far and wide! I always enjoy watching the Scandinavian Mushers who race the Iditarod....it's definitely in their blood! LOVE the picture of Allen on the street corner!! Too funny! My goodness they certainly have some very long words!

Cheryl from Arkansas said...

Great report on the trip! Allen, I do not think those words are found too much in Arkansas. That would lead to great confusion in looking for food.

Barb, CO said...

It is so wonderful to see that wherever you go, you are beloved. I love the pic with the Kennel mascot and Allen, just chillin'.

marilyn cozzens said...

Fantastic report on your trip to Sweden. What a fun & rewarding journey. Love all the pictures but especially the one of Allen looking for a lunch spot! Thanks.

Cindy Eckhoff said...

It's amazing how you got all the names and spellings correct. But then again, how would we know?😃😃😃