The horizon in Finnmark, Norway, is invisible when it snows. A pale, gray haze extends in all directions, obscuring the difference between land and sky. Those who choose to traverse this void cannot predict how long it will be until they eat or sleep. Many fail to complete the journey. Yet every year, at the beginning of March, people come from all over Europe to test their limits against this Arctic landscape.
This competition is the Finnmarkslopet dog sled race, the longest of its kind in Europe. Held in the part of Norway that lies inside the Arctic Circle, it stretches over 650 miles of snow and ice.
The trail begins in the small municipality of Alta, then cuts across the Finnmark plains to the peninsula town of Kirkenes, then loops back to end in Alta. Mushers have checkpoints in between to recharge for a strenuous five to seven days in the winter chill, which averages 16 degrees Fahrenheit.