Heading out on an expedition in this landscape gives you a feeling of freedom that is difficult to experience in any other part of the world. Even if the snowmobile motor is a noisy distraction, you only need to turn the key to experience complete silence. Out here in the beautiful Svalbard wilderness there are no twittering birds, or heavy traffic. You are far, far away from peak hour, office noise and mobile coverage. You are free!
The tour starts in Longyearbyen, where your guide will pick you up from your hotel, and take you to our Expedition Centre for a briefing, and packing of gear. We will hop on the snowmobiles, and head towards the Russian settlement, Barentsburg, in the Grønfjord. Once there, we will check in at the Barentsburg Hotel, where we will leave some of our gear before heading out to explore the local area. Where we drive will depend on the weather and snow conditions, but generally we head for the glaciers in the Grønfjord.
The next day we will back the sleds, and set a course south towards to picturesque glacier, Fridtjovbreen, and Van Mijenfjord. We will drive along the fjord towards the wide, open Reindalen, the ‘reindeer valley’, before continuing towards the cosy Juva Cabin at Brentskaret. The guide will serve lunch underway, and we will make dinner together when we arrive at the cabin. Or maybe we will let the guide get dinner underway, while we relax in the fantastic outdoor sauna?
On the last day of the trip we will head to the east, and our goal will be to reach the big glacier plateaus before heading down onto the sea ice on the east coast of Spitsbergen. Here we will stop to enjoy a hot lunch, while we scout the ice with our binoculars, looking for the King of the Arctic. If we are lucky, we might see one of our local bears in its own element, out on the ice. The tour takes you through an impressive and varied landscape. On our return, we will stop at the cabin to collect our baggage, before driving the last 30 km back to Longyearbyen, where we expect to arrive at about 5:00 pm.
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 shop Longyear78.
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 is therefore important that you don’t have issues with your back, neck, arms or wrists. The weather can change quickly, and at times the cold and the windchill can be extreme. The snowmobiles are comfortable to drive however, and have heated steering bars.
Before we leave Longyearbyen, the guide will give us a briefing, including information on how to drive. We will start the tour at a gentle tempo, and increase it gradually, until everyone is used to driving. 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 400 - 450 km, and it will be demanding for two persons sharing one snowmobile.
A valid driver’s licence for car or motorbike is required to drive a snowmobile. Remember to take it with you on the tour. The Norwegian ‘vegtrafikkloven’ applies on Svalbard.
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.
The expedition is available on the following dates:
Contact us if you wish to book a private tour or choose other dates.
4 - Previous snowmobile experience recommended, long day trips.