Rules & Policy

Trapper Trail has established the following rules and policy that will apply for the race



Trappers Trail should be a race which offer mushers a goal to reach for, a possibility for  measuring strenght and a social climax in each season. The race should attract attention and enthusiasm to the mussher- and dogs in Svalbard. The race should also be a factor and adjust in order for recruiting new mushers into an inclusive and diverse musher community.

Trappers Trail invites the competitors to enter one of the following categories

• Ski: 1 – 3 dogs

• 5-dog team : 4– 5 dogs

• 8-dog team: 6 – 8 dogs

• Open class: 6 – 10 dogs


Registration fee is published on Trappers Trail webpage when the registration opens.



 I. Generalities

I.1. Club organizer: Longyearbyen Hundeklubb (LHK) is the organizer of the race. Contact information on The board of LHK should appoint the leader of the race committee before the 1st of December each year, for the following race season.


I.2.a. Svalbard entrants: The race is opened to all inhabitants of Svalbard. LHK will organize space in the kennel for participants' dogs coming from outside Longyearbyen.


I.2.b. Mainland entrants: The race committee reserves the right to accept or refuse the participation of skiers/mushers from mainland. Evaluation will be based on the participants' experience from Svalbard, the space availability in the private kennel and after Mattilsynet's approval (see § I.4). Application must be sent to styret [a] The committee gives the final decision.

1.2.c  Entrants unable to carry a firearm

Mushers that are unable to carry Polar Bear protection can apply to the Race Committe for a dispensation to participate in the race without carrying a Polar Bear protection themselves. The deadline for applying is 1 week before the race starts. The Race Committee will decide if they consent the application. Mushers that receive a dispensation from carrying Polar Bear protection themselves, will need to bring a supporting person carrying Polar Bear protection throughout the race. The supporting person following the musher could follow either by skis or snowmobile. The supporting person should always walk/drive behind the musher and the dogs they are supporting. The only exception from this rule is when snowmobiles are driving up Fardalsbakken (from climbing check-point) to “Passet”. Supporting-persons sitting in a sled is not considered an advantage for the musher, and a musher will not need to apply for a dispensation for this.


If a musher or a supporting person do not comply with the criterias mentioned above the musher may be disqualified from the race. The Race Marshall is the one to determine the outcome of such cases.

I.3. Transportation & Accommodation: It is the responsibility of the entrants to organize transportation of dogs and equipment to Longyearbyen. For accommodation, visit

I.4. Dogs: All dogs must be vaccinated against rabies. Participants must follow Mattilsynet and Sysselmannen regulations for importing dogs on Svalbard as well as LHK regulations concerning health and well-being of dogs.

I.5. Weapons & polar bear protection: All participants must be able to handle weapons and be trained for self-protection against polar bears.

I.6. Reindeers: Due to reindeers on the trail, dogs must never be let loose from the team during the race. Polar dogs must be on leash all year around according to Sysselmannen’s rules.


II. Entrants

II.1. Valid entrant: Participants with pulling dog(s) who signed in, paid the registration fee, accepted rules and policy and went successfully through the compulsory equipment check with the race committee can take part of the race.

II.2. Skier: A skier races with 1-3 dogs. A pulk is compulsory for loading the safety equipment (see § III.1)

II.3. Musher: The musher may either race in the 5-dog team class (3-5 dogs),  the 8-dog team class (6-8 dogs) or the open class (6-10 dogs).

II.4. Musher/skier team: Mushers and skiers may race in team of two with possibility to change at the checkpoints. During the stages, the team-mate has to respect rule VII.2. A musher team may race together the whole race.


III. Equipment

III.1. Compulsory Equipment: All entrants must have minimum safety equipment in the sled or pulk.

GPS with track

maps C9 Adventdalen and B9 Isfjorden (1:100000)


satellite phone or emergency beacon

snow shovel

avalanche beacon

avalanche probe


winter sleeping bag

jervenduk or tent

first aid kit

signal pen/pistol with red flares

bear protection

reserve dog food for 24 hours (500 grams per dog)

reserve food for musher for 24 hours

primus stove with fuel


small snow anchor for leading dogs (recommended)

III.2 Extra ski/poles: It is allowed to add skies and ski poles in the sled and use them during the race. However, such equipment must be carried in the sled (if not in use) from the start in Day 1 until the finish in Day 2. It can't be dropped or picked up at any checkpoints or along the trail. Mushers must announce such additional gear and show it during the equipment checks.

III.3 Nightlines: Participants must provide their own nightlines and anchors at the starting point, overnight checkpoint and at the arrival.

III.4 Equipment checks: There are equipment checks at the departure of stage 1 and arrival of  stage 2. Participants must go through them together with the race committee. All safety equipment and announced additional equipment (see § III.2) must be checked. On day 1 and 2, departure is not allowed for participants with missing compulsory equipment. At the arrival line, a 10-min penalty is given for every missing item.

IV. Route

IV.1 Trail: Trappers Trail is a two-stage race with one compulsory overnight in Bikkjebu at Kapp Laila. The normal trail covers approx. 70 km (40 km + 30 km) and the long trail covers approx. 140 km (70 km + 70 km).


IV.2. Route: For safety reasons, participants must follow the GPS-track given before the race. In Colesbukta, the route is on land only (no sea ice short cut is permitted). Also Isdammen, near Longyearbyen, is restricted from dog driving. Teams will be disqualified or given a time penalty decided by the race marshal

IV.3. Sprint and Climbing ranking: There are one sprint and one climbing section along the trail.

Sprint in Todalen during stage 1

Climbing in Fardalen - Passet during stage 2


The sprint and climbing ranking is defined by the best time.


IV.4. Modification: The trails, sprint and climbing sections may be subject to modification.


 V. Departure procedure

V.1. Timing: Under the whole race, the official time is the one given by GPS device

V.2. Starting list in Day 1: The starting list is set up according to the ranking of the dog driver during  Hilmar Nøis Trail. The ranking from Hilmar Nøis (HN) provides the basis for seeding in Trappers Trail (TT). This possibility is valid only if the entrant competes in the same class during HN and TT. The competitors who did not participate to the pre-race will start before the competitors who did participate to the pre-race. Their starting positions will be decided after drawing.


V.3. Starting list in Day 2: The teams start in reverse order according to intermediary ranking at the overnight checkpoint.  Race Committee can decide to start first (before the re-start) with the  teams using more than 4.5 hours during  Day 1

V.4. Start: Start is given with a 2-min interval on Day 1 and with 3-min interval on Day 2.

V.5. Starting time: The time on the start list is the official starting time.

V.6. Time taking: The bow of the sled is the point which is considered for timing a dog team. The front of the ski will be considered for timing a skier with dogs.

V.7. Delayed team: If a musher can not make it to the start on time, the musher must not disturb the other teams’ departure and must wait until all the mushers have left. The delayed team will not be given a new starting time as the official starting time will be only considered (§ V.5).


VI. Driving behaviour

VI.1. Driving style: Participants can drive dogs in Nome or Greenlandic style as long as they can ensure a good control of the dogs. 

VI.2. Passing a team: A musher meeting another competitor must announce his/her venue. It is up to the competitor to judge if he/she has control of his/her dogs. If not, the slower team must be informed and stop; the musher must hold the leader dogs (anchor) and help the other team to pass. In narrow gullies, passing is not allowed.


VII. Logistics

VII.1. Handler: All participants must be supported by at least one handler. A team mate is considered as a handler. Handlers must respect rule § VII.2.

VII.2. Assistance: A musher races on his/her own and may not receive any outside assistance of any kind during the whole race (from handler, public, snowmobile, etc ). Exception for this rule is where there are put up removable fences to divide traffic (at checkpoints, Finish etc). Any other outside assistance will be sentenced by a minimum of 10-min penalty or disqualification after decision of the Race Marshal.

For major reasons, not related to the race itself, a musher/skier is allowed to get assistance.

VII.3. Assistance at departure: Assistance from helpers/handlers is allowed on the start line only to hold the team in place before the musher leaves. Beyong the start line, § VII.2 is applied.

VII.4. Food/equipment drop: Food, nightline and other equipment (not required for taking part of the race) can be delivered at the overnight checkpoint by the handler.

VII.5. Dropped dogs: Dogs can be dropped at the checkpoints. Dog has to be transported on the sled to the next checkpoint (see § VII.2). New dogs are not allowed to enter the team or to replace another one during the whole race. If so, the participant is disqualified.


VIII. Responsibility

VIII.1. Private responsibility: Participants join Trappers Trail on their own will and responsibility. By entering the race the participant knows what is expected regarding knowledge and competence for a safe participation in this race for both participants and dogs.

VIII.2. LHK responsibility: Longyearbyen Hundeklubb which organizes the race is not responsible of any eventual physical, psychological, material damages. LHK is not responsible of any eventual injuries of dogs during and/or following the race.

IX. Prices

IX.1 There is given prices for winners in the three classes, winner of climbing, “ideal time” and “the blue lantern” for the last team to cross the finish line. “The blue lantern” is a wandering trophy. “Ideal time” (“idealtid” in Norwegian) is a random time, randomly drawn between previous year’s shortest and longest time used to finish the race. The race committee can also give out other prices.


By taking part of the race, the participant has agreed and accepted the rules.


Have a good race!


 Last update: 03/2017