Feb - May
This is an amazing wilderness experience! It is a long day on snowmobile in varied, and in parts demanding terrain, but the reward is great - a fantastic day out in the stark Svalbard landscape, and if you are very lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a polar bear during the trip.
The east coast of Spitsbergen is generally colder than the west, due to the distance from the Gulf Stream, and this means more sea ice, and better conditions for polar bears. It also provides for opportunities to observe these powerful animals at a safe distance, so be sure to take your binoculars and a zoom lense for your camera.
The tour takes us east from Longyearbyen, through the Esker valley and out through the Sassen valley. From here we will continue eastwards, through the glacier systems that stretch from north to south on Spitsbergen, before we reach the bay Mohn Bay on the east coast. We will explore the area, and enjoy an expedition lunch in front of the mighty glacier face.
The snowmobile tour to the east coast is amongst our most popular tours, but be aware that it is a very long day on snowmobile. We will drive over long plains and gain a real feeling of being tiny in the imposing Svalbard landscape. We will make several stops underway, and take our time, and if you don’t see a polar bear yourself, the chances are good that reindeer, Svalbard grouse or a polar fox may cross our path. If we have time, we will drive up to a viewpoint or two, to get a better overview of the beautiful scenery.
Even if many visitors hope and dream about seeing polar bears - and the chances on the east coast are reasonably good - it is important to enjoy the tour from start to end, even if the King of the Arctic doesn’t appear. Enjoy being out in the never-ending wilderness, hear the Arctic silence, and let the stark scenery sink in - with or without bears. Maybe you will find polar bear tracks? Don’t forget to compare their size with your own hand.
If the conditions allow we will choose a different route home, offering new amazing impressions from jagged glaciers and snow-covered valleys - all in all, an unforgettable day on Svalbard.
If you have never driven a snowmobile before, and 190 kilometres and 8-10 hours on a snowmobile sounds like a bit much? Check out our snowmobile tour to Tempelfjord instead!
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