Neither snow nor sleet nor the Corona virus could stop the 40th Norwegian dogsled race known as Finnmarksløpet. It took off over the weekend from Alta, along with a week-long winter festival that involves many local municipalities.
The toughest competitors run 1,200 kilometers with their dogs over a course that stretches east from Alta via inner Finnmark to Sør-Varanger and back again. The “short version” covers 600 kilometers, making the Finnmark dog sled race one of the world’s longest.
More than 120 dog teams were taking part this year in the races that have won lots of international attention. Crown Prince Haakon was on hand to launch the race and the Borealis Winter Festival late last week, along with Prime Minister Erna Solberg when 37 teams set off on the longest race.
Spectators and visitors to Finnmark can experience still-dark days, the Northern Lights, local markets and hotels built out of ice, reports newspaper Klassekampen. Unlike the Holmenkollen Ski Festival in Oslo, local officials didn’t halt any of the activities because of Corona virus fears.