Rules FL-junior

Updated 15th September 2016

English Special Rules FL-junior

(subject to minor changes)

The Sports committee of the Finnmarksløpet is responsible for the special rules of Finnmarksløpet.

Finnmarksløpet is judged in accordance with the Long Distance Rules (LR) of the Norwegian Sled Dog Racing Association (NHF), which are stated under laws and rules.

The following regulations and policies have been prepared in addition to the NHF's LR that apply to the Finnmarksløpet (FL):

FL-junior has a lower age limit of 15 years the year the race starts. Maximum age is 18 the year the race starts. FL-junior is a sled dog race adapted juniors at the request of the Norwegian musher Association. There are eligibility requirements to start in FL-junior (see registration).

FL-junior is an international sled dog race. Participants can start with a maximum of six and a minimum of five dogs, crossing the finish with a minimum of four dogs.

The intended purpose of the FL-junior sled dog competition, is to determine which musher (aged 15-18 years old) and dogs can complete the race in the shortest possible time. The race will be completed only on the strength of the mushers and their dogs, and without help from anyone other than the organiser's officials in the staging area at the checkpoints and the checkpoints. Mushers and their dogs must be prepared to tackle various weather conditions that can be expected in Finnmark. FL-junior is conducted regardless of mother nature, where wind and sledding conditions can vary greatly based on location at any given time. Mushers must have good skills with regard to outdoor survival and be able to look after the dogs, making the best decisions for themselves and their teams to progress in the race.

Information regarding media/press during FL-junior
Members of the media/press must comply with the FL guidelines regarding contacting/interviewing mushers during the race. The following information will be provided to the media/press:

Mushers will enter the check point, park their sleds, collect food bags, remove the dogs booties, lay their dogs down on straw beds and start preparing food. The musher is available to media/press after this, and then only on request. However, photographing/filming during this time from a distance without disturbing the participant is permitted. 

The participant must submit a consent statement in writing, from a guardian or other person who acts as a parent/guardian at the time of registration. The participant's handler must be over 20 years old. The Chief of Race in FL-junior is a mentor and advisor. This person shall attend to all participants before and during the race. The Race Manager is available for advice and questions at any checkpoint.

Special rules

#1 Dogs
All dogs participating in FL-junior must be micro chipped. In addition, every dog must be marked with an FL tag on his/her collar during the race. Tags are distributed when registering for the race (It is recommended to put the tag on the dog's collar on the start day).

Every dog participating in the FL must complete a Pre Race Check. This check can only be done by the race veterinarians of FL. It will take place on either Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday before the race start day (See application for more info). All participants will be informed of what time and date their dogs shall be checked. This will be done by e-mail.

#2 Start
The sled teams start within one minute of each other. The draw of the starting order will take place on 1st February 2015. Time equalization for FL-junior will be at the checkpoint Joatka I.

#3 Start number/advertising
Mushers are required to display sponsors’ advertisements/GPS receivers either on their clothing or on their sled. FL's sticker must be worn by the musher during the entire race, including at the start, finish and during the prize awarding ceremony, according to Finnmarksløpet regulations. Please note! All FL-juniors must display their start number clearly from start to finish. Each mushers handler must wear their own orange bib on checkpoint Suosjavri.

#4 Mushers meeting
The FL-junior mushers meeting is mandatory for the participant and one handler.

#5 Public roads
It is not permitted to use public roads on parts of the trail other than where decided by Finnmarksløpet. Information about this will be provided at the mushers meeting.

#6 Control Stations and Checkpoints
FL-junior - mushers must check ‘in and ‘out in person at the following checkpoints: Joatka I - Suosjavri - Joatka II. There will also be five control points in addition to the checkpoints; before Joatka - by Joatka I - Mollisjok - after Suosjavri - after Jotka II. The participant shall pass, but not check in at these control stations.

#7 Mandatory layovers
FL-junior has three mandatory layovers: three hour stop time plus a levy on Joatka I, a six hour stop which must be taken at Suosjavri and a three hour stop must be taken at Jotka II. All mandatory layovers must be taken at FL-junior checkpoints. Participants shall personally check ‘in’ and ‘out’ to complete all mandatory layouvers. None of the mandatory stops can be combined in the same checkpoint. Participants are helped to correct time adjustment from the organizer, but each participant is responsible for the start time difference assessed on Jotka I.

#8 Depot
The following FL-junior checkpoint is a depot station: Suosjavri.
This means that the participant must carry enough food and supplies for themselves and the dogs from the start to Joatka I and until Suosjavri. From Suosjavri the participant must carry enough food and equipment from their depot for themselves and the dogs between Jotka II and the finish.
For example: clothes, shoes and food for the musher; dog booties and food for the dogs. The mushers must also have a minimum of 1 liter of fuel for the stove/cooker.

#9 Food drop bags
These must be packed securely and marked with the mushers name and the name of the food drop location they will be sent to. Fuel for Primus stoves/ water cookers and similar is not permitted in food drop bags.
There is no limit to total weight and the amount of food drop bags, although the maximum weight of each bag is 20kg.

The food bags will be shipped by the event organiser.
Refer to the program for information regarding delivery of food-drop bags. The driver must lift the food drop bags onto the truck and, together with the race official, cross off on a form how many bags will be delivered to the checkpoint Suosjavri. Bags left on the ground will be left behind. The truck with the food-drops bags will leave Alta on Thursday at 15.00. Information about the food drop scheme is available at race headquarters. FL is not responsible for the mushers' food bags in the event of mild weather, stray dogs etc.

#10 Equipment
Handlers may not handle the food drop bags in any way except for placing or picking up equipment at the assigned food drop area at the checkpoint.
In this connection equipment means: Snow hooks, dog blankets, blankets, batteries, dog booties, wrist warmers, foot and leg ointments for dogs, sled plastic, fuel for water cooker/Primus. This equipment must be placed in the designated food drop area in soft packaging (plastic bags etc.). Every item delivered to the musher can be checked by the race marshall/judge/race officials. All items that a musher wants to leave at the checkpoint must be brought to the food drop area to be collected by a handler. At the checkpoint Joatka I and Joatka II the participant must bring all equipment (except garbage) in the sled with them.

#11 Help/assistance
Receiving help for the sled at the checkpoints is not permitted (with the exception of necessary assistance with steering and breaking) unless otherwise decided by the checkpoint official/race judge/race marshall.

#12. Dogs/checkpoints

#12A At the checkpoints, dogs are not permitted in houses, dog boxes or similar, with the exception of, in the event of any veterinary examinations. Mushers can, however, use their own tents that have been carried on the sled from the start.

#12B The race marshall or race judge together with a race veterinarian will exercise absolute authority over the dog teams participating in FL-junior. Their decision to withdraw a dog or dogs from the race, or any other decisions related to dog care/health, is final. All dogs will be visually assessed and/or medically examined at every checkpoint as far as possible. The race veterinarian in conjunction with the race marshall or a race judge can detain teams at any checkpoint if necessary to ensure the team's health and welfare. No dog team will leave a checkpoint until the dogs in that team are fit to continue in the race.

#12C The team/dogs must leave the checkpoint without the use of force. It is not permitted to pull or tug the dogs from the designated area/checkpoint when the team leaves the checkpoint.

#13 Animal welfare and health
FL-junior shall be conducted with a particular focus on the dogs welfare and health. FL as organizer and entrants of FL both have a mutual responsibility for racing the dogs.

Participants in Finnmarksløpet are at all times responsible to groom, feed and look after their dogs welfare and health based on the dogs needs. Mushers own and other mushers dogs should be treated with respect and kindness. Participants will run and manage their race based on the fitness, physical and health conditions of the dog team, paying attention to how the weather affects the dogs during the race.

Dogs who are; injured, health and/or fitness-related reasons that are not able to continue the race, must be carried in the sled and taken to the next checkpoint for assessment by FL veterinarians.

Dogs that are considered by FL veterinarians not able to participate further in the race, must be taken out of the race at the first possible checkpoint.

No dogs will be allowed to limp out of the checkpoint.

FL race veterinarians will be available at all checkpoints and provide the same level of service to all dogs participating in the race. Race veterinarians shall at all times use their best efforts, based on available medical and diagnostic equipment, available space and field conditions, examine and perform adequate treatment of all dogs participating in the race.

#14 Death of a dog
If a dog dies while racing between checkpoints, the dog must be carried to the next checkpoint or to the last passed checkpoint. The dog must be carried in the sled and be properly covered upon arrival at the checkpoint. After checking in, the musher must as fast as possible, notify the TD (race judge), the race marshal or the race veterinarian of the death. The musher is only permitted to continue the race if permission is granted by the TD, the race marshal and/or the race veterinarian. The musher may be disqualified from racing if an inspection of the dog determines that the musher has mistreated the dog or otherwise caused the death of the dog. The musher may also be disqualified if they receive written instruction at a previous checkpoint from the race officials to leave the dog behind, unless the death is due to other causes. The musher may also be disqualified if the death is due to dehydration or hypothermia. The restart (at the start of the race) and the finish line are considered checkpoints in such cases. The musher will not be charged if an autopsy is required.

#15 Assistance between the checkpoints
No form of outside help or assistance from handlers is permitted between the checkpoints. Exceptions are in the event of medical emergencies and a completely damaged sled that is impossible to repair on site. Race judges/the race marshall must be notified and give approval of such assistance. Participants can still get help at checkpoints and in the course of the organiser's official duty where necessary.

#16 Care of dogs
All care of dogs, gear, preparing dog food and feeding the dogs must be carried out on the trail, and may only be carried out by the team's musher in the designated area at the checkpoint. Only cold water is available for preparing dog food. Cold water can be fetched in a water bottle/container or similar. Coolers or similar gear must be transported in the sled from the start or transported in a food bag in FL's food drop vehicle. Coolers or similar gear that are removed from the designated/cordoned off area can not be brought back in.

#17 Dropped dogs
Dogs can be dropped off at all check points and control points between checkpoints. Notification must be given to the Race Officials of dogs that are dropped from the team. Dogs that are dropped from the team shall complete a mandatory veterinary inspection by a FL veterinarian. The veterinary check must be signed for in the "dropped dog" book. The mandatory veterinarian inspection must be conducted at the checkpoint where the dog was taken out of the race. The musher is responsible for ensuring that the dog receives the necessary veterinary inspection after the dog is dropped. At the checkpoint Suosjavri the participant can give the handler responsibility to check that the dogs gets the veterinary control. Mushers must identify the dog that is taken out of the race in the veterinary book. If a musher scratches from the race, all of the dogs in the team will be checked by a veterinarian at the checkpoint where the musher scratched from the race. The veterinary inspection is mandatory and must be signed for in the "dropped dog" book. The veterinary book must be transported in the musher's sled and the "dropped dog" book must be kept in the handler's vehicle throughout the entire race. The veterinary book and the "dropped dog" book must be given to the veterinarian/race official at the finish line or at the checkpoint where the musher scratched from the race. Dogs that are dropped at the checkpoint will be taken to the handler/s vehicle. In the event that the dog is handed over to the checkpoint official, dog food to last 24 hours must also be supplied. (FL recommends all mushers arrange this with the handler/s vehicle responsible for "dropped dogs").

#18 Veterinary inspection and health control
Every dog that participates in the FL-junior must complete a Pre Race Check. This check will be done by veterinarians of FL. It will take place on either Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday before the race start day. All entrants will be informed what time and date their dogs shall be checked. This will be done by e-mail.

Mushers are responsible for getting mandatory veterinary checks signed in their veterinary book by one of FL race veterinarians.

In FL-junior there is the one mandatory veterinary check at checkpoint Suosjavri, in addition to regular veterinary checks at checkpoints Joatka I and Jotka II.

In addition to the mandatory veterinary checks, regular veterinary checks by FL race veterinarians will be done at all FL checkpoints where the musher stops. These are not mandatory. FL race veterinarians, TD and race leaders, still have the authority to require a dog or a dog team investigated, whether there is doubt about a dog or a dog team health, or ability to continue in the race. This applies regardless of whether the running plan is to stop at the checkpoint or not.

Re-check is a new veterinary control of a single dog or a dog team where FL race veterinarians think is necessary, to protect the dog and/or the health in the best possible way. A re-check may be required to be completed at the checkpoint where the musher is, or at the next checkpoint. Completed re-checks shall be signed by one of the FL race veterinarians, and the musher is responsible for the implementation and signed re-check of the veterinary book.

The participant who refuses to carry out veterinary checks, leaving the checkpoint or reaches the finish without having carried out, got signed and approved mandatory veterinary check and re-checks, will automatically be disqualified.

There is a mandatory veterinary check at the finish line. It must be approved before the participant is deemed to have completed their race.

The Veterinary book and "dropped dog book" shall be submitted to one of the FL vets after the finish or at nearest checkpoint when scratching the race.

#19 Violation of rules
Any violation of rules committed by the handler/s or other support team members can result in disqualification of the musher.

#20 Harness and cables
There must be cable in the main line/middle towline, and all wires must be padded. All dogs in the team must be fastened to the towline with backlines and necklines. The musher must have a neckline attached between the lead dogs.

#21 Reflection
The sled must have reflection tape on both sides of the handlebar (min. 10 cm) that is highly visible in the dark. There must also be reflection on the collar of the lead dog/s or on the neckline between the lead dogs. The musher must at all times wear plenty of reflection on both the front and back of their jacket.

#22 Runner plastic
Plastic can be shipped in food drop bags or in the handler/s vehicle. Only the musher is allowed to change plastic runners on their sled.

#23 Change of sled
The participant can switch their sled at checkpoint Suosjavri. The participant must replace an ‘empty’ sled with the new ‘empty’ sled.

#24 The sled
A mushers sled must be capable of carrying the musher. The sled and the sled bag must be big enough to have room for at least one dog while pulling the sled in addition to mandatory equipment. (FL recommends using dog bags if the dog is carried in the sled.)

#25 Repair of sled
If a musher wants to remove an empty sled from the designated area to repair it, they must obtain approval from the race judge/race marshall/checkpoint official.

#26 No man's land
This starts from the bridge in Øvre Alta (just downstream from Strand Camping) to the finish line.

#27 Rookie/first-time musher
The musher must complete the FL-junior class (i.e pass the finish line in FL-junior) in order to relinquish his/her status as rookie/first-time musher. The musher has a rookie status when he/she starts in a new class for the first time, regardless of whether the musher has completed FL in another class.

#28 Poles
In the FL-junior class, it is not permitted to use ski poles/push poles or similar.

The musher must always keep the following mandatory equipment in their sled. (This equipment is subject to inspection at checkpoints and out on the trail. The musher can be disqualified in the event of missing mandatory equipment.)


  • Mountain maps covering the whole race trail (1: 50,000/M711 UTM system) with plotted course. Finnmarksløpet recommend a GPS containing the track. The coordinates will be made available on the Finnmarksløpet website.
  • Veterinarian handbook. Handbooks will be distributed to mushers from the info kiosk or at the musher's meeting.
  • Compass
  • Snow shovel
  • Axe or large knife in the sled, and a knife on the body
  • Extreme winter sleeping bag (minimum 2,000 grams and suitable for -30C)
  • First aid equipment
  • Extreme winter clothing (with reflective material both in front and back that is clearly visible in the dark)
  • Extra set of clothing (underwear and outer clothes, socks and winter boots)
  • 12 booties per dog, including those in use
  • Coats to all dogs.
  • Head lamp and batteries plus spare lamp
  • Light stick/signal flare (to be carried in pocket on person)
  • Wire or chain for any dropped dogs handed over to the checkpoint official. There must be one length per dog in the team (minimum length of 40 cm). Drag Line with wire is approved for this use. At checkpoints, each dog in the team must be secured with wire or chain from the collar
  • Reserve dog food for at least 24 hours. (500 grams per dog. The dog food must be packed by the musher, sealed by race officials and, under normal circumstances, brought to the finish line unused.)
  • Reserve food for the musher for at least 24 hours. This food must weigh at least 500 grams
  • A functional water cooker (see description) and pot capable of heating a minimum half litre of water per dog
  • Reserve food for the musher for at least 24 hours. This food must weigh at least 500 grams.
  • Garbage bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Extreme survival bag (windproof) that must weigh at least 1200 grams
  • Rope to fasten to the sled in areas populated by reindeer.


Mandatory equipment that is lost or damaged
These items can be replaced from the food drop bag at checkpoint Suosjavri or from the mushers support team. The equipment must be presented to a race judge/race marshall/checkpoint official in order for them to approve the exchange/replacement. Used dog booties, batteries, garbage bags and fuel for cookers/Primus stoves are exempt and can, if desired, be replaced from the food drop bag or by the handler.


Comments from the Sports committee of Finnmarksløpet regarding some of the mandatory equipment.
Mushers-and first-time mushers, in particular- should read this carefully. It is important to understand that it is completely within the power of the race judge/race marshall to approve or reject equipment.

Reserve food for dog and musher:
this should be used about 24 hours after the musher has left the checkpoint, and lies between two checkpoints. Therefore, the musher must carry enough food for the first 24 hours for both themselves and the dogs.

Snow shovel:
It must be strong enough to penetrate hard or iced snow and suitable for digging a snow shelter.

Axe or long knife:
Many mushers tape a "Sami knife" to the sled. Regardless of this, have a knife attached to your person. A long knife or axe should have a minimum length of over 30 cm.

First Aid equipment:
Having only field dressings are not satisfactory. A minimum requirement are; bandages, sports tape, field dressings, gauze dressing and painkiller tablets (non-prescription). Pack First Aid equipment in a waterproof container (i.e. a plastic bag, is recommended).

Extra set of clothing:
Underwear must be long sleeved/legged. Recommended outer clothing includes windproof trousers and jacket, thick socks and footwear that retains heat.

Functional water cooker:
Here, functional means that when departing all checkpoints, you have both matches and enough fuel (at least one litre). Matches should be packed watertight.

Sleeping mats are highly recommended. They reduce the cooling effect of lying directly on snow. They can be packed easily by rolling them out along the length of the bottom of the sled bag.

It is recommended to pack extra clothing, sleeping bag and windproof bag in  waterproof packaging.


Repair equipment is recommended to be carried in the sled in order to conduct simple repairs on the trail. Examples include; a multi-tool, plastic strips, thin strong rope and strong tape.


All mushers must, based on the resources they have at their disposition, do their utmost to accomplish a long distance competition at their level.

A musher scratching from the race must report to the race judge as soon as possible. They are responsible for their own transportation, plus that of their dogs, equipment and food bags from the checkpoints.

Under normal circumstances, search and rescue missions to find mushers will be initiated 24 hours after last contact. Unnecessary stops between checkpoints should therefore be avoided.

A dog in the sled when arriving at a checkpoint will not be removed from the race unless the musher so desires.

The musher is permitted to sit on the sled.

Protests must be submitted in writing to race officials/judges within one hour of crossing the finish fine at the latest. A protest fee of 100kr applies.