The tour heads south from Longyearbyen, taking you through rugged valleys, over open plains and snow-covered glaciers then through an unique moraine landscape. Not long after leaving town, you will feel you are truly be one with the mighty Svalbard wilderness, and there will be little to do disturb your enjoyment of the stark beauty. Maybe a reindeer or two in the distance, but that’s about it. We will cross Reindalen, the largest valley on Svalbard, and make our way up a snow-covered glacier - Slakbreen. If the weather is with us, the views in all directions are amazing. After having spent hours totally alone in the wilderness, it is not uncommon to be surprised by the site of the mine entrance at the bottom of Höganäsbreen. Suddenly the little mining community appears before you, and it is hard not to be both fascinated and impressed with those who managed to build a life for themselves in this polar desert!
Svea lies in a beautiful spot, at the head of the Van Mijenfjord, and from here it is just a short drive on to the east coast of Svalbard. The fjord is protected by Akseløya, meaning that the sea ice tends to hold longer, creating a paradise for marine life. The fjord is also a safe place for polar bears’ favourite food - it is a well-known hunting place for ring seals. Scientific observations show that pregnant polar bears often make their snow caves in this area, and these amazing mammals and their cubs are not an uncommon sight on the sea ice.
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. We will head to the miners’ mess hall for a delicious lunch, before we setting a course back to Longyearbyen.
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 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
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