This spring, the fastest and strongest sled dogs of North Greenland, who were transported by helicopter to the town of Aasiaat, participated in a dog sledding championship race.

The vastness of the landscape and the rough terrain do not allow the sled teams to just travel by sled to the race location. Instead, the dogs were transported by one of Air Greenland’s Sikorsky S-61N helicopters. Photo by Arqaluk Brandt Johansen.

The dogs were not in their element inside the aircraft. Nevertheless, the spirit was high and they could not wait to run! Photo by Arqaluk Brandt Johansen.

Aasiaat, a small town with only 3100 people was buzzing of anticipation, right before the great race.  Photo by Arqaluk Brandt Johansen.

The dogs wait patiently as their musher gets ready for the race. 37 dog sledding teams participated in this year’s race. Photo by Mads Pihl.

Nothing like running on the snow after being cooped up inside an airplane. Photo by Mads Pihl.

The Greenlandic sled dog breed is adapted to the Arctic with extremely thick fur that lets them sleep outdoors in sub zero degrees. They also have innate super-canine powers, like the instinct to know whether sea ice is thick enough to support a sled. 

The winner of Avannaata Qimussersua 2017 is Edvard Samuelsen from Saattut, a small settlement near Uummannaq. It is tradition to parade around with the winner overhead. Photo by Arqaluk Brandt Johansen.

About Avannaata Qimussersua

  • Avannaata Qimussersua literally translates to “The Great Race of the North”

  • Aasiaat is a small town located in the Disko Bay area, with just 3100 people, accessible by Air Greenland flights from Kangerlussuaq and Ilulissat

  • This year, 37 teams participated in the race

  • Next year’s race will be held in March in Ilulissat

  • Watch Air Greenland’s video of the race here