A university in Norway has become the first in Europe to offer dog sledding as an individual subject.Students who sign up for a three-year degree in outdoor recreation at the University of Tromso’s Alta campus from Winter 2015 will study a mandatory course in the sport.
The course will include two weeks of practical experience and will cover the dogs themselves and how sledding is a good way of experiencing nature and the outdoors. Students will also learn about the historical, sociological and psychological perspectives on dog sledding and how to master and deal with a pack of canines.
Those who take the university’s year-long outdoor recreation programme and students studying sports will also be able to take the class as an option.“We want to strengthen dog sledding as a part of our educational programme, because we want to reflect our regional and national character,” said Rune Waaler, an associate professor at the University of Tromso.“And if you’re going to have dog sledding as a subject, it is clear that Alta is the place to do it.
Alta is home to a substantial sled dog related community, and we have the Finnmarksløpet as well, which is an important engine for developing sled dog racing as a sport.
”The Finnmarksløpet is the world’s most northerly sled race, which students have taken part in via the university’s recreational activities for many years.