Feb - May
The tour takes you south from Longyearbyen, through narrow valleys, over broad valleys and through exciting glacial moraine landscapes. Not long after leaving civilisation, you will truly feel like you are a part of the mighty Svalbard wilderness, and a series of unforgettable sights will line your path.
We will cross Reindalen, the largest valley on Svalbard, before making our way up Slakbreen, which could be translated as the Gentle Glacier. On a clear day, the views from the top are outstanding. After a few hours of driving completely alone in the white wilderness, it is a bit of a surprise to drive down Höganäsbreen and spot a mine entrance juxtaposed against the snow. Suddenly, the little mining town appears, and we will experience all it has to offer.
Mining, and the little community that has been built up around it, has been a part of the beautiful landscape since 1917. Up to 350 miners have worked in Svea at a time, but in 2017 the Norwegian state decided to discontinue mining in Svea, and today there are only a few people left, as caretakers for the settlement. During your stay here, you will learn all about the day to day life of those who were stationed at this isolated outpost.
After checking in, we will will take a trip out onto Rindersbukta, and visit the imposing Paulabreen - which is the favourite glacier of many a local. Protected by Akseløya, the sea ice tends to remain longer here than in other fjords, and this creates a paradise for marine life. The fjord provides a safe place for the polar bear’s favourite food, and these ring seals are often seen sunning themselves on the ice. Pregnant polar bears often make their snow caves in this area, and these fantastic mammals and their young are not an uncommon sight on the ice. After the tour we will enjoy a tasty dinner in the mess hall.
After breakfast we will pack the sleds and drive eastwards. The east coast of Spitsbergen has a colder climate than the west, due to the distance from the Gulf Stream. This means more sea ice, and better conditions for polar bears. This will give us a good chance of observing this impressive animal at a safe distance, so be sure to pack your binoculars and a good zoom or your camera! If the weather conditions allow for it, we will take a tour to Agardhdalen, over the glaciers to Fulmardalen and through the wide Sassendalen before returning to Longyearbyen.
This is an exciting, action-packed tour, but you need to be prepared to spend a fair amount of time on your snowmobile, and it therefore important that you don’t have issues with your back, neck, arms or wrists. The temperature can fall to minus 30 Celsius plus windchill, and even though you will be provided with snowmobile equipment, it is important that you have enough warm clothing underneath. While all of our snowmobiles can seat two persons, we strongly recommend that each participant drives their own snowmobile. It is much easier to manoeuvre a snowmobile with one person on it, and on long tours it is often quite cold to be the rather exposed passenger. The total distance driven on this tour will be about 250 km, and it will be demanding for two persons sharing one snowmobile. Generally we drive at between 30 - 50 km per hour dependent on the terrain.
You will be sent a full equipment list before your trip. Remember that Svalbard is tax and duty free, so if you need to pick up extra gear, you can buy quality equipment in our expedition shops Longyear78.
A valid driver’s licence for car or motorbike is required to drive a snowmobile. Remember to take it with you on the tour.
We recommend that you dress in warm woollen underwear, warm outer pants and a solid woollen jumper under the snowmobile suit. We also recommend that our guests have extra clothes in a backpack, for example an extra jumper, woollen hat and mittens.
Longyearbyen Hospital advises pregnant women to not participate in snowmobile and dog sledding tours, as a blow to the stomach or fall may pose a risk of injury to the mother or unborn child.
We reserve the right to change the route of the tour for safety reasons should the weather or snow conditions require it. This will not be grounds for a change in price. The participants agree to follow the tour leader’s directions and instructions. The tour leader will not drive with a passenger.
The ‘Veitrafikkloven’ or Road Traffic Act applies on Svalbard. Driving under the influence of alcohol is not permitted.
Safety is our highest priority, and the guide needs to be able to give directions you understand. To participate on one of our excursions, it is required that you speak and understand English or one of the Scandinavian languages.
Your safety is our priority. Even if you have experience in winter sports, the Svalbard environment is different to that many might have been in before. Taking a tour with a guide who knows the local conditions is the safest way to explore the area outside of Longyearbyen. As a participant on a snowmobile tour, it is important that you follow the guide’s directions underway. This is both for your own safety, and that of the group. Weather and snow conditions are the big factors on Svalbard, and we reserve the right to change the route or destination to one that is safest for you and the group.
Hurtigruten Svalbard’s guides have different backgrounds and experience, but what they all have in common is that they come to work to ensure you will have the best and safest tour. Some have taken the Arctic Nature Guide study, others are certified mountain guides, glacier guides or authorised Svalbard guides who have taken the Svalbard Guide Opplæring (SGO - Svalbard guide training). SGO study includes fundamental requirements for safe travel on Svalbard, as well as education about tourism, field safety and an understanding of environmental and cultural values. In addition our guides take part in internal training and exercises through the year.
4 - Previous snowmobile experience recommended, long day trips.
On request from February to May
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