Airport dog sled taxi service
KIRKENES: What a start of your Arctic adventure holiday. Get into the sledge directly after arrival and enjoy the ride across the snowy mountain in what is the world’s first airport dog taxi.
Tired of traditional airport buses or lining up for “old-fashion” taxis? A new service at Kirkenes airport in northern-Norway offers you an unforgettable ride to the hotel. Not a traditional chain hotel either, the dog-taxi service goes to a snow-hotel 45 minutes away from the airport.
“This is for the high end market,” admits Kåre Tannvik, adventure developer with Kirkenes Snowhotel. Prices are somewhat higher than a normal taxi.
Passengers dress up with thermal suits, get acquainted with the dogs and off they go. A more sudden change-over from modern transport to traditional Arctic means of transport is hard to find. The silence of the snow-covered mountain plateau is only charmingly interrupted by the sound of the wind. The eight team dogs are surprisingly silence as they work hard uphill. At the peak, the bright sun is just rising over the horizon after being away for nearly two months of Polar night.
During the Cold War it would have been unthinkable to allow tourists to cross directly out from the airport for dog sledding over this mountain. Those days, all passengers on incoming aircrafts where told not to take photos out of the window. Surrounding areas of Kirkenes airport had sensitive military installations and drill grounds. Easy to understand as you are able to see across the border to Russia in the horizon on the route through the snowy landscape.
Cold War is long gone, Norway and Russia are friends and the dog sledge start driving downhill towards the snowhotel.
Chief executive of Kirkenes snowhotel, Ronny Østrem, pilots the sledge together with BarentsObserver on this first ride from the airport.
“We had to obtain permission from the military border guards before starting dog-taxi service through this area,” says Østrem. His dog team today consists of eight vigorous Alaskan huskies. In total, the snowhotel has 200 sled dogs.
“Dog sledding directly from the airport brings a unique approach to the other products we offer; snowhotel lodging, Arctic food, feeding reindeers etc.,” says Ronny Østrem. He believes airport dog-taxi service will dot the “i” and impact on whether visitors will choose to come to Kirkenes in competition with other destinations in the fast growing market for winter tourism in the Barents Region.