In summer 2009 our family had an unforgettable holiday in Iceland. It was a dream come true for Outi who had been dreaming of a trip to Iceland since she was a teenager. During the trip we stayed overnight at Icelandic farms. A couple of them really impressed us. It was great to have a chat with the family members and to get familiar with the local everyday life. In Vellir our hostess did ask us what we are doing for living. We told her that we have a husky farm in Ivalo and she asked: “Do you also have accommodation there?” That question was the beginning of a new dream… After various phases Guesthouse Husky was set up in 2010 and our very own guesthouse was opened in spring 2011. Our company is still quite young, but our service, however, is based on know how gained from many years experience in the tourism sector.
It was in the early 1980´s when Juha-Pekka was studying in Partaharju youth academy in the middle part of Finland. The headmaster of the academy had an exciting hobby: sled dogs. Through him Juha-Pekka also became interested in huskies and dog sledging and learnt many needed skills such as building of the sleds. Mother of Juha-Pekka still remembers the day, when the 17-year-old Juha-Pekka appeared behind their living room window with a husky dog. As Juha-Pekka did not yet have a driver´s license, the husky called Hikkori had been transported from Partaharju to Kuvansi with the help of Juha-Pekka´s good friend, Ilkka. It could be that even Ilkka´s father does remember that day: the dog was transported in his new car and he was not that happy about it… Well, that’s how everything began. In 1988 Juha-Pekka moved with his 17 huskies to Ivalo in Finnish Lapland and started his own business offering sled dog safaris. With the help of a friendly local inhabitant he found a suitable place for a husky farm near Ivalo village and settled down with his dogs. Juha-Pekka was one of the first persons to offer husky trips in Lapland. He did also compete in long distance husky races already in 1980´s. In the beginning of this decade Juha-Pekka was again active in racing with quite good results. Last years he has got too many other time consuming projects in his life and no time for racing. Maybe sometime in the future, who knows…
Even Outi comes originally from the middle part of Finland. She has always been interested in foreign countries and languages and chose to study international marketing at University of Vaasa. Her interest in foreign languages made her to gather working experience in Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Italy – before ending up to Lapland. One summer Outi was working as a bus guide for German tourists travelling through Finland to North Cape. She loved the work, the guests and the beautiful landscapes in Lapland! In order to extend her know how in the travel business Outi then decided to move to Rovaniemi. Later on she moved to Sodankylä and worked one summer even in Utsjoki. In 1995 Outi settled down in Saariselkä where she worked for Wilderness Safaris of Lapland for several years. Through this job she also got to know Juha-Pekka. Outi has also worked for Inari Event Lapland in Inari village as well as for Fell Centre Kiilopää.
On the 31st December 2001 Konsta – the eldest son – was born in health care center of Ivalo. As Konsta was in a hurry there was no time to drive 290 km to Rovaniemi Central hospital, where all Lappish babies normally are born. It was a cold winter day, around -30°C. Despite that, a couple of hours after the birth, the new born baby and mother Outi were transported by an ambulance to Rovaniemi Central hospital.
Nowadays Konsta is already a teenager, taller than his mom. Since 6-years-old Konsta drives his own dog team. In the beginning it was with 2-3 huskies, but nowadays he is already capable of handling even 8 huskies. When Konsta was 10 years old he was already offering “a taxi service” for his friend, who needed a transfer from Ivalo village to our place not to mention organizing of husky tours for his friends – not bad or what do you think? As Konsta is a handy and strong young man with a good connection with our huskies, he has been working as an assistant guide on the safaris. You might see him also feeding or training the huskies – some pocket money is always good to have :). Otherwise Konsta´s favorite hobby in winter is down hill skiing. In summer season he likes to explore the area with his mountain bike and train some tricks on the trampoline.
Akseli – the middle son – was born in 2003. He was only 5 years old, when Juha-Pekka made own small sledges for the children. You can believe that the children were happy about it! In the beginning Akseli drove with one husky, later on he did got another dog in front of the sled. From the very beginning it was amazing how well and energetic the small and meager boy handled his sled. Even Juha-Pekka was impressed. A tour of 25 km was soon a piece of cake for this junior musher! Today Akseli is driving with 5-6 huskies when he is in the mood. It needs to be said that Akseli’s main interest though is other sports than husky driving. Last years he has been successful both in athletics and in cross country skiing competitions of the local and Northern Lapland schools. Akseli’s favorite sports among athletics are long jump, 60 m running and 800m running. Akseli is a good competitor and the harder the competion the better. He loves the medals and certainly wants to get some more! Akseli´s other hobbies include floorball, trampoline jumping and down hill skiing.
Last but not least, there is our third son, Kosti, who was born in 2006. Kosti experienced his first husky trips already when he was a baby. Winter 2012 Kosti started his own mushing career in January with -20 C. Juha-Pekka accompanied Kosti with a snowmobile when he drove 6 km with a 2-dog-huskyteam. Despite of the even colder weather, Kosti demanded to go again next day and gave no peace to his father before he agreed. A tour of 12 km was easily done. It was easy to see that Kosti has mushing in his blood as well…Kosti loves to take care of the husky puppies and when mushing he is proud to have a big adult size sledge already. Following his big brother, Akseli, Kosti has been participating both in cross country skiing and athletics competions with quite nice results. Kosti also likes down hill skiing, floorball and jumping on the trampoline with his brothers.
Of course there are also our 80 Alaskan huskies, but to tell you about each of them would take too much time. So, please do come and meet them and even us personally – You are warmly welcome!