- A real winter expedition to Scandinavia’s best muskox photo spot
- We are on site with the musk oxen in the finest photo light every day
- World-class photo opportunities in a high arctic winter environment in Norwegian mountains
- This time of the year, the musk oxen are in their most beautiful, often snowy, winter fur
- We use dog sleds to get up the mountain to our winter expedition camp
- Floris Smeets is one of Norway’s best wildlife photographers, also a certified Dovrefjells guide
- Winter expedition equipment included – sturdy tents, snowshoes, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and food
The muskox is one of Scandinavia’s original animals, they spred everywhere where the Ice Sheet retreated. Then the lightly hunted animals were exterminated by the overly efficient early hunters and disappeared into the mists of history. During the 1940s, however, the musk ox was reintroduced from Greenland to Norway, and one of the most powerful animals of our natural heritage was back. Today, 100 years later, approximately 300 muskox live in Scandinavia, the vast majority in Dovrefjäll, even a few that have migrated from Dovre to Härjedalenfjällen in Sweden. They are peaceful animals and especially during the winter they take it easy to save energy. As with all other large, wild animals, you should of course not get too close, which is why it is so good to be led by an experienced guide who knows how to best behave. Winter site selection by musk oxen is a relatively predictable story and does not vary much from day to day, unless they are spooked. This means that the leader knows with a fair degree of certainty where to expect to find them.
In order to get good muskox pictures, both patience, some waiting time, some sound discipline and using early mornings and late evenings are needed. We’ll be there for what’s usually the best part of the mid-winter season, we’ll be there 24 hours a day, with probably the best guide for this particular thing up here.
This is an intense wildlife photography expedition which has been described by many as an experience of a lifetime. An official National Park guide will take you with dog sledges into the mountains of Dovrefjell where you will stay for four days, photographing wild roaming musk-oxen. You will photograph these impressive animals in the harsh Norwegian winter conditions, with temperatures dropping well below -20 degrees and a good chance for a winter storm to pass through. This tour is for the more adventurous nature photographer.
We use high end expedition tents which can stand the toughest conditions. We have camped out in winds of 28 meter per second and the tents easily stood their ground. The tents are large and offer a comfortable housing for 3 persons. In each tent there will be 2 or 3 persons staying, depending on the group size.
The temperature will probably be around -15 during daytime and around -20 at night time. These mountains are known for the strong wind which suddenly can pick up and disappear again. This means that the weather can change rather fast from hour to hour. During the tours there is a good chance that we will get into blizzards. Proper clothing is an absolute must!
Floris Smeets is one of the official Dovrefjell Nation Park guides. He is experienced and knows the area and animals well. Over the years, he has guided groups in some of the toughest winter weather conditions and will always put the group’s safety upfront. Even though the conditions can be challenging, you will be safe in his hands. Additionally, he is a professional photographer and Sony Ambassador. He plans the tours to maximize your photographic results. You will be on the right spot at the right time and can always ask for tips and feedback.
PHYSICAL CONDITION OF THE PARTICIPANTS
You need to be fit for this tour! You have to be able to walk several (3-5) hours per day, also in rather steep terrain. We will walk mostly with snowshoes. Only on the tops of the mountains, where the musk-oxen mainly are, we will not need snowshoes. Snowshoes are provided for you. Participants have to carry their own photo equipment plus 1 Liter of tea or coffee and food for the day.
FOODS AND DRINKS
Because the temperature will be below freezing during the tour (about -15 on day time and -20 at night), it is not possible to bring regular food or drinks. Those will freeze. Quality expedition food, of the brand “Adventure Food”, is supplied for you. We have tested several brands, and this brand makes the tastiest meals and has a good amount of calories. I also supply every participant with a 1 liter thermos for tea or coffee. In order to make tea or coffee, we have to melt snow every day. I supply burners and pots, which are specially designed for winter usage. Some snacks, such as chocolate, cookies and peanuts, don’t contain any or much water. It is possible to bring those with us for extra energy.
On the first and last day, we will have regular food and drinks.
Because the temperature at night will be about -20 degrees, we need good sleeping bags. The tents isolate quite well. It will be about 8 degrees warmer in the tent, if there are 3 persons inside. We supply all guests with good winter sleeping bags. You only need to bring your own sleeping bag liner. It is very important that the liner is made out of fleece, because other materials will feel cold during winter. If you have got a sleeping bag for these conditions, you can bring it. Please tell us the brand and model of your sleeping bag, so we can check for you if it will be warm enough for this trip.
We will have some of the best winter camping gear with us, which allows us to camp out in the mountains even during very challenging weather conditions. Even though our tents can stand windspeeds around 150km/h, the windspeed should not exceed 75 km/h when setting up the camp. In case the weather will be too extreme and will not allow us to set up camp, we will stay in the cabins outside the National Park. In that case we will hike in and out of the mountains every day in order to photograph the musk-oxen. Sadly, staying more nights at the cabins brings additional costs of NOK 1250,- per person per night.