A passion for nature and dog sledding sit at Holmen Husky Lodge’s heart. One inspiring the other. It all began with Eirik Nilsen, our founder, in Narvik, a Northern-Norwegian town surrounded by Arctic nature. He discovered the thrill of leaving life’s daily comforts behind and challenging himself against the elements of nature. Most of all, he discovered how it made him appreciate life so much more.
It became an addiction – to get into nature and experience it up close. His first trips were on skis, but once he discovered dog sledding and huskies, the skis were left on the shelf. Dog sledding became his passion and he would do anything it took to make it his living.
Even as he studied to become a car mechanic in Tromsø during the 1980’s, he soon began spending his winters somewhere else. He packed his twelve huskies in the car and travelled to Kautokeino. Here he learned all he could about dog sledding and about the Arctic nature. He trained with the dogs, worked as a car mechanic and even drove guest over the border in Kiruna.
In 1987 he, like many other dog mushers, settled down in Alta. While continuing to work as a car mechanic, all his spare time was spent training huskies. His goal? Finnmarksløpet, Europe’s longest and one of the world’s most famous dog sledding races. He joined the race in 1988, the first of 14 times that he would participate over the next 18 years. Of those 14, he finished 12 times, an achievement in itself.
But Eirik didn’t just participate. He ran to victory three times, twice despite challenging weather conditions that left his competitors stranded. All three times he had his leader dog, Max, with him and he almost named his son after him due to this fact.
Alongside racing and a full time job, Eirik created Holmen Husky Lodge from what had once been a shabby, post-war farm. It started as a dog boarding kennel in 1996, but soon he also used it as a base to take guests out on dog sledding trips. This, more than anything, became his solution to making a living from dog sledding.
From then Holmen Husky Lodge has kept growing, along with the size of our dog yard. From 20 dogs in 1990 to the over 100 huskies that call Holmen Husky home today. Through the years we are proud to say that we have kept building on the passions that started it all. From our dog sledding trips to our accommodation, we do everything we can to let our guest have an experience close to nature. Away from ordinary life and into the extraordinary world of the Arctic.