This is one seriously cool Best Life Adventure – in more ways than one. The magnetic magic of the Northern Lights has long been a drawcard to explore the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle; hence, our Tri-Nation Arctic Challenge was born.
This Extreme Dreams expedition sees us power our way to the nexus of three snow-covered countries in the depths of winter, with the iconic Aurora Borealis to light our way.
Together, we tackle an endurance journey across the frozen wilderness towing our gear-laden Pukla (sled) between Norway, Sweden and Finland before resting up with the indigenous Sami people to hear stories about survival in the Arctic Circle.
To end our week, we climb aboard dog-sleds for a safari race across mountain ranges, carve through deep powder and race through snow-laden pine forests.
But, that’s only half of it. We’ll also enjoy a number of other mad experiences, which are best suited to the Arctic (think ice lake immersions and fishing in the snow followed by sauna sessions and ski shots to warm the cockles).
This will be a true challenge of the mind and body for us all. To step away from comfort and take on something new is the epitome of adventure, right? Who knows what we’ll find when we get out there.
Physically, this is one of the toughest expeditions you'll ever take on. So, grab your down jacket, find your winter gloves, chuck on your snowshoes (we provide all of these don't worry) and embark on the adventure of a lifetime. See you in Norway!
Arrive in Tromsø
Welcome to this fascinating city, nestled in an archipelago of islands at the northern tip of Norway. Famed as the perfect viewing point for the Northern Lights it's where our Extreme Dreams expedition starts. Please ensure you arrive in Tromsø no later than midday today for your check-in at our 4* hotel.
Today, we issue you with the essential winter clothing required to adventure deep in the Arctic Circle, pour over maps of the area as we run through the itinerary, before dining on a sumptuous group welcome dinner.
Early to bed, the adventure starts tomorrow!
Snowshoe to wilderness hut #1
We leave the comfort of Tromsø behind and take a transfer to the start our journey along the Nordkalottleden - an 800km Scandinavian trail that winds its way up the spine of Norway.
Strap on our snowshoes, load the sleds and head up the valley on a trail that winds through silent birch forest, up onto exposed, frozen Arctic tundra where the challenge of the expedition becomes real.
Today we snowshoe around 12km to our first wilderness hut in Norway. On arrival, we light the fire, crank up the stove and prepare to soak up the most remote location on the trip, and if we're lucky the Northern Lights will be firing across the skies above our heads.
Explore the frozen wilderness
Waking up in the Arctic wilderness is an incredible experience. We spend the day recovering from our monster efforts, take in the majesty of the region, learn how to dig a snow cave and spend the night back in our comfortable, wilderness cabin.
Snowshoe to wilderness hut #2
Leaving the comfort of the hut behind, we venture into the frozen Arctic wilderness as first light touches the horizon, far away to the south. We walk as far as we can during the twilight hours, to reduce time under headtorch at the end of another physically and mentally gruelling day.
Keep your eyes peeled for Moose, Arctic Fox and Reindeer as we drop into the gorges and across frozen lakes.
Today we snowshoe around 12km to our next wilderness hut, on the border of Finland and Sweden.
Snowshoe to Sami reindeer ranch
Our final day on snowshoes is an epic one! Leaving the hut behind we navigate our way through the frozen valley to one of the most iconic destinations of the trip - the Three Country Cairn that signifies the point where the borders of Sweden, Finland and Norway meet.
From here the twinkling lights of Kilpisjärvi, our destination for the night, guide us towards the end of our mammoth snowshoe adventure. In the evening we head to a remote reindeer ranch, celebrate with a mammoth local meal, and enjoy the Finnish tradition of a steaming sauna and a dip in the ice-covered lake. It's the perfect tonic for our aching limbs.
Remote Sami Adventure Experience
After three huge days on the tundra, we spend the majority of today with our Sami host, learning about life in the frozen north and what it takes to manage a herd of reindeer. There's the chance to ice-fish in the frozen lake, jump in the frozen lake or simply sit around the camp-fire beside the frozen lake.
We overnight in glass-roofed Kotas offering epic views of the Northern Lights, weather permitting.
We depart our accommodation to learn the ropes of what it takes to become an experienced dogsledder with a morning of exploration and discovery along the snow-covered valley trails before following the ice-covered river to our wilderness camp.
Our home for the night is a short ride away at a remote wilderness camp, complete with traditional Sami dinner, tales from the locals and a comfy bed you'll need when you're not out marvelling at the Aurora Borealis!
Dog Sled Marathon and finale
We meet up with our dog-sled teams and prepare for a huge day on our Extreme Dreams expedition. Our route takes us along the valley that divides Finland and Norway, before breaking for lunch, heads across a mountain range, then tracks down through snow-laden forests and finishes by the ocean, at Skibotn. Normal dogsled adventures cover up to 10kms a day...we push you a little further with a challenging 50km marathon.
Today is a very special day in the north of Norway. After two months of virtual darkness, the sun finally breaks the horizon and the locals love it! The Day of the Sun is celebrated by eating doughnuts (or Sun Buns) and locals climb a mountain to witness the big fiery ball return. Summer is on the way.
After a week of constant physical exertion, it's time to head back to our hotel in Tromsø and wrap up with a farewell celebration dinner and some well-earnt rest.
**Your Best Life Adventure ends here**