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Cats and huskies at work

Two Cat mini excavators and a hundred huskies working in seasonal shifts at Nellim Husky in Lapland.

Read the original article in Finnish at  Hankintavinkit 3/2021

Text: Jarmo Syvänen


HUNDRED RACK DOGS, HUSKIES. Thousands, mostly foreign tourists during the winter season. These elements have formed the life and livelihood of Matti Salmi, who lives in the village of Nellim in Inari, for more than a decade.

"Originally I'm from the south, but a couple of decades have already gone with the dogs in Lapland. At the beginning, I came to western Lapland for seasonal jobs. In 2009, I came here to Nellim on the Russian border, first to work and since 2014 we run our Nellim Husky Oy companies with my wife Jane, "says Matti Salmi. A hundred Huskies naturally require a lot of work and care. - Yes, this is what's going on. After all, every day the dogs need to eat and drink, need exercise and keep the orchard clean. During a normal winter, several thousand tourists visit us to experience a dog sled ride in the Lapland wilderness, Matti presents. The past year has also been exceptional for Nellim Husky due to the corona. Foreign tourists have not been able to come, so the dogs have run just to keep fit and the other daily routines of the shelter with their meals are running normally. You have to dig deep in your pocket, when a hundred mouths have to be fed every day and the staff should be paid as well. If only in a year's time we would be able to serve tourists again.

Before moving to Lapland, Matti Salmi had worked in the earthmoving business. There was still a spark and the necessary skills for machines. In Nellim, Matti has done snow work on tractors and now for four years cable work with a mini excavator. Summer-time digging tasks with a smaller excavator are also well suited for this winter dog sled work. From the very beginning, work was found in a cable excavation in the municipality of Inari. This summer, we will also expand to the neighboring municipalities of Sodankylä and Utsjoki. There are now two Cat excavators in the fleet: the five-tonne Cat 305E2 CR and the ten-tonne Cat 310, which represents the latest NextGen model range. During the summer, we have further 2–4 employees for excavator jobs. From here in Nellim - 40 kilometers from Ivalo to the eastern border - when we operate and the construction sites are a little further away, the equipment must be reliable and help must be found in case of technical issues. These themes have been at the forefront since we purchased the machinery. Both machines have Easy Service agreements, which cover the maintenance of both machines as well as SOS oil samples and their analysis. Avesco's maintenance and repair assistance can be found in Sodankylä, the neighboring community, and Cat as a machine has also redeemed its place as a secure purchase. The drivers have also been satisfied with the machine choices, says Matti Salmi. As a new service for Nellim Husky, last summer also included underwork for cables. We have now been asked quite a lot about this work when there has not really been a local actor.

Summer seems to be quite busy for Nellim Husky, but maybe even some more gigs would still matter. After the summer, when the excavation work has been completed and the snow comes to the ground, the dogs become more active in winter sleigh rides again. Host Matti's training season also begins for dog sled races. It’s a real endurance sport with 600 to 1,200 kilometres driven in the race. Yes, it is easier to get in the Cat's cab than in a snowy drill behind a sled. Come and experience Nellim Husky's sleigh rides. It's a great experience.



After signing the EasyService contract, the Avesco Cat team will take care of the professional maintenance of your equipment.

With a EasyService -contract, your regular services are carried out with fixed price, including replacement parts, oil change and recovery and mechanics work. Avesco ensures that all the work you need is done quickly and smoothly, at the time and place you choose. You get all this for a set price, no extra charges. Service can be done directly on the construction site or at a Avesco workshop. Well equipped Avesco service vehicles are at your disposal in the whole country. We take care of your machine: we contact you when the next service is due. Tailored services are scheduled according to the customers' demand. Benefit from comprehensive cost control over the entire lifetime and reduce machine downtime thanks to regular maintenance.