This is how we got the idea to build Guesthouse Husky
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. Many years´ experience in tourism sector helped us when widening our service to accommodation. At the same time we also started offering husky safaris directly to travellers in addition to the existing business as a supplier for other companies.
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. Our farm and guesthouse are still located in the same place. Juha-Pekka was one of the first persons to offer husky tours in Lapland.
Speed through sled dog races
Juha-Pekka also competed in long distance husky races already in 1980´s.
When his hobby turned into a work, there was no time and energy for racing for a long time. In the beginning of twenty-tens he was again active in racing with quite good results. Even though Juha-Pekka had in the following years many other time-consuming projects and no time for racing and proper training, interest in racing was still there.
So, both in 2018 and in 2019 Juha-Pekka participated in Pasvik Trail in Norway and won the race! Let´s hope that sometime in the future he is able to use his wide know how of sled dogs more also in racing…
From Savo to Lapland
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.
Having children was always a dream of Outi and she was more than happy to stay several years home with children when they were small. Before the guesthouse was opened Outi worked for Inari Event Lapland in Inari village as well as for Fell Centre Kiilopää. These working experiences taught her more about tourism and hotel business, which has helped her with the work in own company.
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 should be 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 major, much taller than his mom.
Since he was 6 years old Konsta drives his own dog team. In the beginning it was with 2-3 huskies, but with the time the number of the huskies in his team was growing step by step. 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 was working as an assistant guide on the safaris already in teenage.
One might have seen him also feeding or training the huskies – some pocket money was always good to have.
After 9 years of school Konsta decided to study tourism in Inari. As part of the studies he was working as a guide for us during two winter seasons. In May 2020 Konsta ended his studies with good notes in his diploma. Since July 2020 he is performing his obligatory military service in Ivalo for Lapland Border Guard.
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!
It needs to be said though that Akseli’s main interest have been, and are, 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. In cross country skiing Akseli had good results even on national level. Since starting his studies in Ivalo high school Akseli has not put that much effort in serious training anymore. However, he still likes all kind of sports and sporty competitions. Also computer games interest Akseli (like I guess the most teenagers nowadays) Sometimes you can see Akseli driving with a kick-bike and huskies, helping his farther with training of the dogs or feeding the huskies. During holidays he might even work as an assistant safari guide.
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 loved to take care of the husky puppies and when mushing he was very proud when he was finally able to drive with an adult size sledge.
Nowadays Kosti earns his pocket money by helping with the dogs. He enjoys trips with kick bike pulled by huskies on cool summer and autumn days and mushing in winter when possible. Following his big brother, Akseli, Kosti has been participating both in cross country skiing and athletics competitions with quite nice results. Kosti also likes downhill skiing, mountain biking, disc golf, jumping on the trampoline and playing computer games with his friends.
Our Alaskan huskies
Of course, there are also our 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!