A Snowmobile Safari

Snowmobiling is a way of life in Lapland – essential to get around and a very practical option in this snowy wilderness. For us though it was unusual and exciting and I can definitely say there is no more exhilarating way of exploring the wintery woods and landscape than on a snowmobile.

We booked our guided snow mobile tour with a local company based in Levi. Not cheap but we reasoned we couldn’t come here and not try it out. We arrived at the base already well kitted out in thermal layers and waterproof outers but gladly took their offerings of extra clothing and piled it on top. Bundled up in oversuits, helmets, gloves, balaclavas and boots we were ready to go.

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Children under ten are not allowed on the snowmobiles but can ride in a covered sleigh, towed by the guide’s snowmobile. Safe and convenient but a little bumpy at times, Son and his two new friends who rode with him loved the experience. Children under two years are not permitted to ride in the sleigh, however I would have thought, to be on the safe side they would need to be at least five.

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After a brief demonstration of how the machines worked and some safety information it was time to set off. We climbed onto our Arctic vehicles and hit the road or more appropriately the trail. There is a whole network of carefully managed trails criss-crossing the beautiful white expanses of North West Finland. They follow forest tracks, cross frozen lakes and let you speed across snowy plains.

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We sped through a snow covered forest, crossed one lake and then our train of snowmobiles stopped right in the middle of another lake for about ten minutes. We watched the sun set over the forest, it was simply spectacular. Add to that the time – 1.30 pm – this was such a cool experience.

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The whole snowmobile tour was 15km but at the half way point we stopped at a reindeer farm. Everyone dashed inside to warm up with coffee and doughnuts. Half an hour to explore and look around was welcomed by us.

Son fed the reindeer moss, found an igloo to explore and climbed into a sleigh harnessed up to two white reindeer for a quick trip.

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We got chatting to the owner who told us some fascinating reindeer facts. Apparently the animals pull sledges all winter – mainly for tourists – and stay in the various reindeer farms. In the summer they do not work but roam freely in the forests. Every winter, amazingly, they then make their own way back to their own farms. Every reindeer knows where it needs to go.

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Back on the snowmobiles and back to Levi, the return trip was speedy and more than a bit thrilling. Husband thought he was James Bond, I clung on behind for dear life as we sped and bumped across the tracks. An amazing experience, we all loved it and agreed it was an adrenaline rush from start to finish.

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70 thoughts on “A Snowmobile Safari

    • It was just the most fun Erika. Don’t remember how cold it was that day, probably around minus twenty as that was the norm – also whizzing on those snowmobiles you just didn’t feel the cold – the adrenaline seemed to sort that out.

  1. How fun! I especially like the info about the reindeer returning to their own farms. Apparently, they’re ready to get back to work after a summer vacation.

  2. That sounds like you all had an amazing day Joy πŸ™‚ And that’s a fascinating fact about the reindeer returning to each farm every winter – it shows they must be reasonably well respected and treated animals, I doubt all that many cattle in the UK would return to their respective farms, if they were given the chance to roam free!! Having said that, there are plenty of farmers who do in fact treat their livestock well, so I shouldn’t tar all of them with the same brush!

  3. I have to show my kids this. When they were little, they had a book about Donald Duck visiting Lapland with his nephew (I know, it’s a little funny), but ever since then, we’ve made references to Lapland! This is great.

    • I loved the trip to the reindeer farm and just chatting with the farmer was fascinating, he had a wealth of interesting reindeer stuff to tell us. The whole place is just amazing.

  4. Your picture of the sunset actually makes me want to hang out in the snow. How beautiful!!!
    Chad and I have been seriously discussing spending some time in Lapland next Christmas season. Snowmobiling may be fun to do while we are there. Thanks for writing about this!

    • Snowmobiling is the best way to get an adrenaline kick here!! There are so many other things to see and do though, even just playing in the snow – we loved it all!! I’m sure you would too and around Christmas time it is just magical.

    • This is such great fun we had an absolute blast. It’s even better that you can do it with kids who are still too young to ride the snowmobile – our son had loads of fun in the sleigh too.

  5. The photo of the frost-covered trees against the pink horizon is stunning! The snowmobile ride sounds like a great way to get the adrenaline pumping in a frigid place where the sun goes down at 1:30pm (I would want to go to sleep!)

  6. I’d love to do this sometime… The countryside you’re driving through is beautiful, and getting to visit the reindeer halfway through must have been amazing! What adventures have you planned for 2016?

  7. You brought that experience to life. I’ll keep it vicarious now that I’m 82. Snowmobilers come to Northern Maine in the winterβ€”an easier way to get around than by car. Thanks for the like.

  8. This looks a fabulous tour Joy! I would have been a bit worried if Monsieur Le Chic had been driving though as he goes too fast for me at the best of times! Amazing photos and I especially love the reindeer – they look magnificent! Hope you’ve had a good week and have an enjoyable weekend too πŸ™‚

    • I had (and have) exactly the same problem Rosemary – the cause of many a bit of bickering in the car!! However he couldn’t hear me yelling to slow down so I was left with no other option but to hold on tight and try to make the most of it!! Enjoy your weekend too.

      • Yes I know the bickering in the car feeling well Joy! Monsieur always has to be “reminded” to slow down and switches lanes very rapidly on the freeway to try and get ahead of the traffic, which can get a tad stressful!!

    • I remember in France once we saw that happening and it actually fell over a hill. I was freaked out for sure, especially since my husband wouldn’t slow down!! This time was much better though, a more controlled experience!!

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