A Winter Substitute for Bicycles:
Sometimes it can be nice to be taken for a ride, especially when it’s your cruise director taking you on a ride on a kicksled.
On the way to the Kirkenes Snow Hotel, we saw a few locals kicksledding their way on the road. It seems like a very nice way to travel, and burn calories at the same time.
I’ve never been on one of these sleds before and when Eskild suggested that I take a seat while he pushes me, I had visions of myself propelling forward and landing flat on my face. But with a little assurance from him, I sit tight and we take off.
Sledding is common in Scandinavia
Kicksleds are commonly used in Scandinavian countries like Finland, Norway and Sweden and can serve as a substitute for bicycles in winter. Kicksled racing is a major championship event in Scandinavian countries.
The traditional sled consists of a chair mounted on a pair of flexible metal runners and looks like a chair on a pair of skis, however these days there are more sophisticated versions that are used in racing.
The kicksled is driven forward by the driver standing on one runner and kicking backwards on the ground with the other foot, hence the name kicksled. The flexibility of the runners allows the driver to steer the sled by twisting the handlebars. A kicksled performs best on hard, slippery surfaces like ice or hard packed snow.
Eskild pushes the sled and then hops on the runners and begins to ride us around the Snow Hotel. I’m relaxed sitting in the chair, but I’m sure his heart must have been pumping as he kicks the sled along.
The kicksled can be used for dog sledding as well and on the Huritigruten Norwegian cruises you can go on dog sledding excursions.