Once the poster child of how a Soviet community should be, the little town of Barentsburg is today a seemingly forgotten Russian village west of Longyearbyen. The number of inhabitants varies between 400-500 people dependent on the season, and boasts a kindergarten, school, hospital and a shop - which receives fresh food just once per month. Like Longyearbyen, mining has been the backbone of the town, an industrial outpost which has been run by the Russian Trust Arktikugol since 1932.
As you enter the town in a line of snowmobiles, you will soon spy a series of buildings from a completely different culture. Beautiful paintings, colourful buildings, a foreign alphabet, and last but not least, a statue of Lenin watching over it all, makes this town a favoured motive for photographers. Even if just wandering around Barentsburg can feel like travelling back in time just based on the architecture, they now have their own brewery, indoor swimming pool and greenhouse. The inhabitants of the town were traditionally miners, but have been joined by scientists, and today a growing number of people work in the tourism industry.
The snowmobile trip from Longyearbyen is varied and exciting. Travelling through Todalen and then to the west, you will see a fantastic landscape and whether you are driving through open valleys or narrow passages, you will be surrounded by Svalbard’s unique mountains. The route can be adjusted dependent on the weather and snow conditions, but the general plan is to drive a circle route, and come back to town over the glacier ‘Longyearbreen’. With views over the whole town, you will take a last photo stop before heading back to ‘Norway’ again.
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 suits you will loan from us. 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 trip
2 snow mobiles
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