Archive for the ‘Tuisku’ Categoryby Northernmost on January 14, 2013 in ACTIVITIES & WORK, Gemma, Skijoring & Sledding, Thunder, Tuisku with No Comments
The weather forecast promised sunshine and unusually mild temperatures for January so we decided to make the most of it and go for a weekend trip to Borgafjäll. This small mountain resort is situated by Lake Borga which is surrounded by two massive fells; North Borgafjäll and South Borgafjäll which are situated on the opposite sides of the beautiful Lake Borga. The border between Lapland and Jämtland is drawn across the lake, placing North Borgafjäll in Lapland and South Borgafjäll in Jämtland. We spent most of the weekend on the northern side of the lake, skijoring along the trail to the Slipsiken mountain hut, and to Saxnäs in the opposite direction.
The picturesque peaks of Klöverfjället provide the backdrop for the village of Borgafjäll.
The weather forecast was right – clear blue skies and no wind. A perfect day to climb the mountain!
On Sunday Fredrik went for a run with Tuisku, Thunder and Gem while I stayed in the cabin to rest my back a little. Fredrik reported that there wasn’t a single soul out on the trail that day, despite the amazing weather. Maybe the Borgafjäll villagers are still in hibernation?
The snowmobile season was just kicking off which meant that some trails were opened but most of them were still pretty soft. If you want the scenery all to yourself, and are prepared to sometimes break trail, then January is a good time to visit southern Lapland. However, if you want to travel on hard packed trails, you had better wait until March or April.
My sturdy Åsnes skis worked well on the crusty mountain trail. These skis are a few years old and Norwegian maker Åsnes now has a wider model called Breidablikk which is specifically designed for backcountry touring with dogs. Maybe I’ll add them to my birthday wishlist?
The weekend was a nice mix of work and play – Tuisku looks pretty chill doesn’t he?
We had a great time in Borgafjäll and would definitely like to return some other time to go on a longer excursion. There are trails in every direction starting from the village and if you have a week to your disposal you can ski or travel by dog sled to Klimpfjäll and Stekenjåkk in the northwest, to Marsfjället in the north, and to Frostviksfjällen in the south, or tour the entire area in a circle. It’s a real musher’s paradise, especially during the early part of winter, before the snowmobilers have invaded the trails. To see more photos from our weekend, jump to our Borgafjäll Gallery.
The forecast promised sunny weather so we swapped the coast for the mountains and have had a great Saturday on the trail today. It’s ten degrees colder than expected but stunningly beautiful. Will share some more pictures when we get back home. Have a great weekend everyone!
Thank you Fredrik for looking after the dogs so well while I’m unable to and thank you for being such a good and loving Malamute Dad. Not every Malamute owner/breeder has a partner that shares their interest so I count myself really lucky because Fredrik is just as passionate about Malamutes as I am. We can talk Malamutes for hours on end. Even when we spend time with our dogs, go skijoring or hiking, we talk Malamutes. Maybe it’s not a big surprise then that we met through mutual Malamute friends. In fact, Fredrik’s interest in Malamutes had developed long before he met me and my (then) 5-dog pack.
The girls love their Daddy…
…but Tuisku, in particular, has decided that Fredrik is HIS human.
I took this photo on the day they first met. Love at first sight?
I think so 🙂
It was way too beautiful to stay home today so I went for a gentle run with the dogs in the afternoon. To avoid putting any strain on my back I stood completely still on the runners and let Tuisku, Leia and Thunder do all the work. My back is healing well and I’m fine walking and standing up now. Sitting down, however, is not comfortable so I try to avoid that as much as possible. The dogs have noticed from the way I’m walking that I’m a little fragile right now so they didn’t jump up to greet me in their usual boisterous way. But they were eager to hit the trail and we had a nice run through the wintry forest. S n o w = h a p p i n e s s 🙂
The trail was groomed to perfection yesterday but more snow fell during the night.
Happy Mals – Leia & Thunder
Tuisku takes a breather.
Travelling home through winter wonderland.
Things don’t always go according to plan. Just as the sledding season was kicking off I had to visit hospital to undergo back surgery due to a slipped disc that has caused me pain for a really long time. The surgery went well and I’ve now been allowed to return home. However, while my back is healing, I have to stay away from both skijoring and sledding. I bet you can imagine I’m more than a bit frustrated right now. Hopefully, if I follow doctor’s orders, my back will heal sooner rather than later but it will still take a long time before things are back to normal. In this kind of situation it’s good to have back up and luckily my mum lives just next door to us and can help out with the dogs when needed. Fredrik does most of the work but when he’s occupied my mum helps out with feeding and watering the dogs for example, and she also takes them out for walks. I’ve been watching their activities through the window today, feeling a little sorry for myself as I can’t go out and enjoy the snow. But as long as the dogs are happy I shouldn’t complain, we have a long winter and hopefully I won’t miss out on the entire season.
Thunder’s looking handsome in any weather.
Tuisku and Hilary hanging out with Fredrik in the playarea.
Look at Tuisku’s face… 🙂
Leia comes out from her dog house and gets a big kiss!
Grandma Kaisa and Gemmy go for a walk. This is fun says Gemma!
Since I have to take to easy at the moment I’m taking the opportunity to do some good reading. Right now I have three books lined up: “City Wolves” by Canadian author and Malamute owner Dorris Heffron, “On Time Delivery – the dog team mail carriers” by William S. Schneider, and “Malamute Man – Memoirs of an Arctic Traveler” by Joe G. Henderson. Three really interesting books which in different ways tell stories about sled dogs and Malamutes. I will post full reviews when I’ve finished reading them. Have a good weekend everyone!
We kicked-off the sledding season with a weekend trip to magical Aktse. Aktse is an old mountain settlement in Swedish Lapland, known also as The Gate to Sarek. This is where many hikers start their journey into Sarek, which is a large and mountainous wilderness area located north of the Arctic Circle. Dogs are only allowed to enter the Sarek National Park between January and April so we could go no further than Aktse. But from here we enjoyed amazing views into the famous u-shaped Rapadalen valley.
Surrounded by three distinct mountains; Tjahkkelij, Nammásj, and the holy mountain of Skierffe, Aktse is a unique place in many ways. For over 200 years a Sámi family has maintained a homestead on the meadows just below Skierffe, making their living from hunting and fishing, and later also by providing a boat-taxi service to summer visitors. The Swedish Tourist Association (STF) has a mountain hut close to the homestead but this time of the year all guests are long gone and won’t return until February, when the sun yet again rises above the horizon.
Heading towards Aktse on the ice of Lake Lájtávrre. We kept as close to the shore as possible as the ice conditions are still unpredictable in early December.
Fredrik and I enjoy visiting the mountains during the off-season, the scenery is so quiet and beautiful this time of the year – like a dream in blue, pink and white.
Our initial plan was to run three dogs in front of the Nordic sled and attach both mine and Fredrik’s skijoring line to it, but the trail turned out to be so narrow in many places that there wasn’t room for both of us. Instead we placed Thunder and Hilary in front of the sled, while Tuisku had “the day off” and pulled only me behind. As you can see in the photo, Tuisku was all fired up and eager to go.
Passing through the snowclad virgin forests of Ultevis Fjällurskog Nature Reserve.
Fredrik, Hilary and Thunder with Tjahkkelj in the background.
The name Aktse means “nine” in the Lule Sámi language and, according to the legend, nine bears have been killed near the large “aktsekallio” boulder which rests on the ridge leading up to Skierffe.
Luckily we didn’t encounter any bears on our trip, but reindeer and elks crossed our path on Sunday.
Hilary completed two legs towards her WTD-title during this excursion. She has a fantastic pulling ability and always wants to keep going, regardless of weather or trail conditions. These are qualities that we really value in a Malamute and since we run small teams, the effort of each dog really counts.
We had planned to spend the night camping under the star-studded sky but the winds picked up during Saturday evening and the combination of strong winds and chilly -22C (-8F) made us opt to sleep indoors instead (as a precaution we had borrowed the key to one of the cabins). When we arrived to the cabin the indoor temperature was -13C (9F) so we had to work hard to keep the fire going and warm up the place to an acceptable sleeping temperature. After feeding the dogs and ourselves we listened to classical music on the battery-powered radio and stayed awake until the candles burned out. A very relaxing weekend in the mountains and a great start to the sledding season. You can see some more photos from our trip in our Aktse Gallery.
Shila is seen working in lead, next to Inupiat’s Quuniqsuq Jason. The hard working wheeldogs are Unavoq’s Dakotah Iluq and Mihakias Call of The Wild Yukon. The team did really well in this first race of the season and won their class! Photo: Steen Kristiansen.
Shila (closest to the camera) and her buddies relax after a job well done. Big congratulations to Shila’s owners Annette and Jan Rost, and Toni Chrillesen of Unavoq Kennels. Photo courtesy of Annette and Jan Rost.
We left home before 3.00 p.m. today and it was already dark. Without fresh batteries in our headlamps we couldn’t see much of the trail in front of us and when a thick fog settled over the forest we couldn’t see anything. Luckily the dogs can see and sense the trail better than us and took all the right turns in the woods.
Thunder and Hilary were well matched in wheel, working with synchronized steps and heads down.
Hilary is learning a lot from the older boys. When she gets too impatient, her natural instinct is to chew the lines but with some training she’s learning to sit down and wait for the command “Go!”.Thunder was a line chewer too as a puppy but is better behaved today…
…but when he thinks we’re not watching…!!
You’ve got to love a dog who, at 7 years of age, still is as enthusiastic about every run as he was at six months of age. Even though he has run the same trail one hundred times he still works as there was no tomorrow. The other dogs get excited too but Tuisku is able to channel all his energy into his work, which is a wonderful quality in a sled dog. We probably take him for granted sometimes, because we’ve had him on the team since he was a puppy and are so used to him always giving his all in harness. So tonight I wanted to say thank you Tuisku, for being such a great working dog. You make the difference between a good run and a great run, between a tangled mess and tight lines, and with your enthusiasm and focus, you set the bar high for every future Malamute we will have. We love you <3
Setting off on tonight’s training run.
Breaking trail on an expedition into the Kebnekaise mountains, April 2010.
Leading a 5-dog team in spring 2012.
Just being Tuisku, on a beautiful winter’s day.
Tuisku turned seven years old in July. Or maybe I should say, seven years young, because at seven years of age an Alaskan Malamute should still be able to enjoy another 5 years of fun adventures in front of the sled and the wagon. Dogs that are cared for properly, and lucky enough to escape injuries and illness, can often still work in harness well into their teens. Let’s hope that is what the future holds for Tuisku.
After nearly a month of constant rain we woke up this morning to blue skies and a garden covered in glimmering frost. The thermometer showed minus three degrees Celsius – perfect weather for running dogs! We decided to hook up the girls and take them for a spin with two of our experienced boys, Tuisku and Thunder, to see what they remembered from last spring. Hilary and Lyra haven’t worked in harness since April, as we have wanted to give them time to grow and develop during summer, and just be “pups” for a while. They are now 14 months of age and seem ready to start a new working season. As soon as we put their harnesses on this morning they leaped into the air with excitement!
We placed Hilary and Tuisku in lead and Thunder and Lyra in wheel. Next time it will be Lyra’s turn to work up front. We always try our young dogs in different positions before we see which position they excel in naturally. Just as important as drive, is the ability to listen and learn.
Even though the girls have had a long break from work in harness, they knew exactly what to do and continue to impress us with their focus and drive.
Both girls stepped up today!
The frost from the morning lasted all day – now it won’t be long before winter is here 🙂
We received some more test results this week: our boys Nordiclight’s Thunder and Keikewabic’s Tundra Tuisku have both been tested for polyneuropathy with the result homozygous normal. You can learn more about this hereditary disease by reading the article Perspectives on Polyneuropathy published by the AMCA. If you wish to test your Malamute we recommend that you visit the website www.ampoly.info or contact your breed club for more information.
Thunder & Tuisku
Two young Canadian boys together in front of the sled in 2006. Thunder was 19 months old and Tuisku 7 months old. They both did really well during their first sledding season.
We send out a big congratulations to breeder Toni Bøgemose Chrillesen of Unavoq Kennels in Denmark, as all puppies in the Extreme North litter between Keikewabic’s Tundra Tuisku, WTD, WPD and DKCH Unavoq’s Dakotah Uniq, born in September 2010, have now been through their health exams with excellent results. All seven pups have A hips, free elbows and clear eyes. Big congratulations also to Bettina and Anders Lübbert who co-own the dam and did an excellent job of raising this litter. Tuisku is very proud of his kids 🙂
We did a routine thyroid test on Tuisku during September and as expected the result was thyroid normal and negative for TgAA. Since Tuisku is already seven years of age, and is negative for TgAA (Thyroglobulin Autoantibodies), the risk of him developing this disease at a later stage in life is quite small. For this test we used the laboratory at the University Animal Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden (SLU). If you live in Sweden and wish to test your dog, you can download This form and bring it to your vet when you take the blood sample. Remember to make the appointment in the beginning of the week, to make sure the sample doesn’t get stuck in the mail over the weekend. We recommend using the following alternative on the form: Tyreoidea: Fritt-T4+Tot-T4+TSH+TgAA (hund).
It’s always great to receive good news about health!