What is the Finnmarkslopet?

Finnmarkslopet race mushing magazine

The Finnmarksløpet is a long-distance sled dog race that takes place in Finnmark, the northernmost county of Norway. The event is one of the most significant and challenging sled dog races in Europe. It is usually held annually in March, when the Arctic conditions can be extremely tough, with cold temperatures, strong winds, and potentially heavy snowfall.

The Finnmarksløpet has different classes, with the main two being the FL-1200 and the FL-500, indicating the approximate distances in kilometers that the participants cover. The FL-1200 is one of the longest sled dog races in Europe, and participants in this category can expect to be on the trail for several days, facing the challenges of endurance, navigation, and dog team management. Teams consist of a musher (driver) and a pack of dogs, typically Alaskan Huskies or similar breeds that are well-suited to the harsh conditions.

During the race, teams must pass through various checkpoints where they can rest, feed their dogs, and receive veterinary care if needed. Mushers must also adhere to strict rules regarding dog welfare, rest periods, and mandatory gear.

 The Finnmarksløpet is not only a test of physical endurance but also an event that showcases the bond between mushers and their dog teams, as well as the incredible abilities of the sled dogs themselves. The race attracts participants and spectators from around the world and is an important cultural event for the people of Finnmark, celebrating their traditions and the history of sled dog use in the region.

FINNMARKSLØPET 2024 STARTS MARCH 8TH

EVERYBODY ON THE PODIUM

Finnmarksløpet was first organized in 1981 with three contestants. There were few rukes and the mushers were out on their own. Back then mushing was a sport for a few dedicated people. Today mushing is a sport that engage thousands of people.

As the years passed the race grew, both in contestants and audience. In 1985 there were two race classes, in 1992 the length grew to 1000km and 12 dogs as a maximum. While the class for 8 dogs were 600 km. In 2000 the open class was extended to 14 dogs and the 8-dog class reduced to 500 km. Finally, in 2018, the race is extended to 1200 km. There has been a lot of smaller changes during the years, we listen to the competitors and try to make the race as fun and challenging as possible.

You can follow the race here
 

A BIG CELEBRATION

In 2001 Finnmarskløpet AS was established as a race organization. From then on the race has become more professional. What used to be a small event organized by mushers is now the largest annual sport and cultural event in the region. 

Finnmarksløpet has become a symbol that unite the people in the region in celebration. NRK (The Norwegian national broadcaster) has daily bulletins from the race and the interest has escalated. The TV program has a national market share of 33%.

This webpage has about 1 million visitors during the race. This is due to people checking the GPS trackers and following the contestants live as the race enfolds. Stay tuned!

You can learn more about the trail here

THE RACE TODAY

Finnmarksløpet consist of three race classes

Finnmarksløpet junior (FL-junior)
6-dogs, 200 km (125 miles), mushers from 14 to 18 years old.

Finnmarksløpet 600 (FL-600)
8-dogs, 580 km (360 miles). Normally around 70-80 mushers partissipate.

Finnmarksløpet 1200 (FL-1200) 
14-dogs, 1200 km (745 miles), Normally around 40 mushers partissipate.

Race start is Friday evening (FL-1200) and Saturday afternoon (FL-junior/FL-600) in week number 10 in central Alta.

This is a big event with speaker, live music and thousands of people. For more details about the race start, check out our program.

Mushers in the 1200

Mushers in the 600

Mushers in the Junior Race