The multi-legged team: a study of the unique elements of sled dog racing
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- Studentoppgaver (SV-NHS) 
Every year, more than 100 mushers use a great extent of their leisure time to prepare themselves, their handlers, and their dogs for the biggest event in Europe within dogsledding; Finnmarksløpet. Finnmarksløpet is the northernmost sled dog race in the world and the longest in Europe, taking place in Alta, Northern Norway. This thesis aims at describing the unique elements of participating in sled dog racing, especially focusing on the interactions between the humans and the dogs, using Finnmarksløpet as a base for the research. A qualitative method was used in order to acquire the most comprehensive detailed description and interpretation of the various relations, and participant observation and in-depth interviews was used as the research tools. The research identified several important elements of sled dog racing, where the musher-sled dog relation was found to be the most important. Further, the research indicates the dogs’ role as the most important element in participating and completing the race, contributing to the feeling of accomplishment and having a unique experience. The research also implied a possibility for defining sled dog racing as both serious leisure and adventure tourism due to the extensive training necessary in advance and the various effects sled dog racing has on absorption and feeling of accomplishment. In addition, the results indicated that the handlers, even though not having direct contact with the dogs during the race, play an important role in assessing the conditions of the dogs and the capability of the team to continue.
Master's thesis in International Hospitality Management