The snowmobile is regarded as a cool and exciting vehicle. This motorized sled is designed for driving on snow and ice. It has made life much easier for the reindeer herders in isolated communities tending their livestock. The snowmobile has also appeared in James Bond movies and countless other action films. However, you don’t need to own reindeer or be a special agent to enjoy a snowmobile adventure. The Scandinavian Travel Group invites you on a snowmobile safari in Lapland so you can experience the thrill first-hand.
Recreational snowmobiling is hugely popular because it is fast and fun. The distinctive part of the snowmobile is the ski-design function. It allows you to skim over the snow without sinking and stalling. It also gives you the feeling of freedom because you are not traveling in an enclosed space. The open design of a snowmobile makes it the perfect vehicle to explore incredible wide, open spaces and get close to nature. Grab your helmet because there is a beautiful snowy wilderness waiting for you.
Popular tourist attraction
Snowmobiles are now a major tourist attraction in winter resorts. Snowmobile safaris in Lapland attract visitors of all ages. Two adults can ride on one snowmobile. Or you can ride solo if you feel confident enough to drive on your own. Children under 120cm ride in a sleigh pulled by the guide’s snowmobile. If they want to have a go themselves, there are mini snowmobiles for kids in the Santa Claus Village.
Exciting snowmobile safaris for everyone
There are loads of different snowmobile safaris in Lapland available. This allows families, beginners and experienced riders to choose a tour that suits them. The Scandinavian Travel Group can arrange the following and more:
- 1. Snowmobile safari to a reindeer farm. Set aside three and a half hours for this epic adventure riding snowscooters in Lapland. You will experience the culture and hospitality of local reindeer herders when you combine a snowmobile safari with a trip to a reindeer farm. It takes about an hour on the snowmobile to reach the farm. On the way, you will experience a connection with the landscape and nature as you take in the sights. Once you gain speed and confidence on your snowmobile you will understand why so many people get so excited about snowmobiling. There’s more fun in store at the reindeer farm. You are invited on a reindeer ride through the forest. Sit back and relax on the sleigh. You’ll be traveling at a considerably slower pace than the snowmobile but we guarantee that you’ll have just as much fun. Back at the farm, feed the reindeer and take photographs to capture the memories of this special day. This program is available in Levi.
- 2. Snowmobile safari “Adrenalin” in Levi. For those who love an exhilarating adrenaline rush, this is the snowmobile safari for you. The route is around 60km and you will explore the Levi Fell as you make your way to the top of the mountain where you will be rewarded with some incredible scenery. Even though it is a fast-paced adventure, we make time to stop for lunch and refreshments. We know a traditional Lapland house en route that is the perfect place to warm up by an open fire. The journey home is downhill all the way. Great fun on a snowmobile! The similar program is also available in Rovaniemi.
- 3. Snowmobile safari with ice fishing. This tour combines the thrill and speed of a snowmobile ride with the more relaxed experience of ice-fishing. Take a fast ride across a snowy landscape and forest to reach the iced lake. The local instructor will supply you with all the gear you need and then will guide you through the process of ice-fishing. It is a great way to experience the traditional way of life of the Lappish people. After fishing, you are treated to a delicious lunch in a tepee next to the lake. There is a roaring fire to help you warm up and plenty of snacks to energize you for the snowmobile trip back to the village. This program is available in Levi.
- 4. Eco (electric) snowmobile northern lights safari and dinner. How do you like the sound of aurora hunting on a snowmobile? According to Finnish folklore, the auroras are caused by the fire fox creating an illumination of celestial sparks as his tail brushes across the sky. You might be lucky enough to see the lights on this snowmobile safari. We have made it an environmentally friendly adventure with our eSleds. If you are new to snowmobiles, this tour is perfect for you because the silent electric e-Sled is very easy to drive. This silent, emission-free ride is a great way to travel into the night in search of the aurora borealis. Even if the auroras don’t make an appearance, you enjoy an exhilarating experience underneath a starlit sky. You can also warm up by an open fire when we stop at a private cabin to enjoy a traditional Finnish dinner. This program is available in Levi and Rovaniemi.
- 5. Family snowmobile safari. Everyone can have fun on snowscooters in Lapland with this fun, family-friendly safari. The Scandinavian Travel Group has created this tour especially for families with small children. At the start of the adventure the little ones travel on sleighs pulled by snowmobiles. Adults ride separately on their own snowmobile. Everyone sets off along forest trails to experience the joy of being outdoors exploring Lapland’s scenery and wild nature. Then the children get to take control and ride their own mini snowmobile on a special track where they can have lots of fun in a safe and supervised environment. These smaller lightweight vehicles are perfect for children aged 4-12 years. There is also time for snow games and campfire treats. Overall, it is a memorable experience for everyone. This program is available in Levi and Rovaniemi.
History of the snowmobile
The challenge of travelling across the country over deep snow was a major problem hunters and reindeer herders faced in the past. Back then, they relied on dog-pulled sleds and skis to cross the land in winter time. However, it was slow-going and hard work. Reindeer herding was a tough job in extreme Arctic conditions. Deep snow, iced winds and freezing temperatures were the norm for those guarding the reindeer who spent long days and nights looking after their animals. Getting home each night was not always possible. Where there is a problem, however, people strive to find a solution. There was a need for a vehicle that would perform well in snowy conditions throughout the winter months.
The Canadian inventor and entrepreneur Joseph-Armand Bombardier is credited for inventing the snowmobile in 1935 although it didn’t officially come into commercial production until the 50s. The first invention was a vehicle steered by skis and it had a sprocket wheel and a track drive system.
Bombardier called it the Ski-Dog. His inspiration was creating a motorized replacement of the traditional dogsled used by hunters.
From Ski-Dog to Snowmobile
The snowmobile is also known by different names, such as a snow scooter or a skimobile. Brand names are also used, for example, the Ski-Doo. The Ski-Doo snowmobile was supposed to be the “Ski-Dog”. However, an accidental misspelling resulted in “Ski-Doo” featuring on the prototype. The name stuck and the name is one of the most recognizable snowmobile brands in the world. A Ski-Doo safari in Lapland is a popular activity for many tourists.
- • The introduction of snowmobiles made life much easier for reindeer herders and made the reindeer husbandry industry more appealing to the younger generations. Herding reindeer by snowmobile is much faster and easier than doing the job on foot. In the 1950s, the arrival of this new mode of transport breathed new life into the reindeer husbandry industry.
- • The American Polaris company started manufacturing snowmobiles in 1954. It wasn’t long before these snowmobiles of the early 1950s underwent a major design revamp to make it a sleeker, lighter model. This was a huge improvement on the first snowmobiles that were large vehicles designed for multiple passengers.
- • Joseph Armand Bombardier had refined his design by 1959. Bombardier focused on developing a lightweight snowmobile that could carry one or two people pretty fast across the snow. The first Bombardier snowmobile went on sale in 1959. Not long after, snowmobiles arrived in the north of Finland around 1962.
Fast fun on the snowmobile
It wasn’t long before people realized that snowmobiles were more than just a practical solution to herding animals. There was fun to be had. Speeding over snow on a light ski-type machine attracted a lot of attention from people who wanted some winter-sport action. The demand for snowmobiles started to rise. More and more were made and sold. Small communities could get out and about more in the winter months. Outdoor activities became more doable thanks to the snowmobile. Snowscooters in Lapland quickly became a familiar sight.
By the early 1960s, snowmobiles became part of life in the North of Finland on the fells. As soon as people realized the usefulness of these vehicles, everyone wanted a snowmobile. Lapland became a hotspot for snowmobiles. This surge in popularity for this mode of transport meant that laws had to be passed relating the where you could drive snowmobiles. For example, you can’t drive one on main roads alongside cars. There are marked snowmobile paths including forest trails and paths alongside lakes and rivers in Lapland.
Explore more by snowmobile
Thanks to the design, the snowmobile takes you places a car or another road vehicle has trouble accessing. This opens up more opportunities for exploring landscape that would previously have been cut-off from visitors who couldn’t travel over the deep snow. Now, designated snowmobile trails are reserved for snowmobiles so you can journey into the wilds of nature and discover the beautiful landscape of Lapland.
Different types of snowmobiles
There are now 250 brands of snowmobiles. Smaller companies are coming up with their own version of this vehicle and sell them locally, although often this is for a limited time only. The popularity of these snow vehicles has increased manufacturing demand. The biggest brands are Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Yamaha, Polaris, Lynx.
The latest snowmobile designs include e-sleds. The electric sleds are super-quiet. It makes traveling through a snowy forest all the more magical and you won’t scare off the local wildlife. The only noise you hear are the tracks crunching on snow.
It can get very competitive on snowmobiles. Athletes enter into snowmobile racing competitions and compete on purpose-built courses or snow-covered terrain for this extreme sport. The type of race depends on the snowmobile. There are different classifications of snowmobiles based on engine capacity. Some of the races are similar to motocross. Riders compete against each other on a special racing course that has several obstacles for the athletes to navigate at speed.
Snowmobile riding tips and advice
Snowmobiles are wider and lower to the ground than a motorcycle, which helps to minimize the risk of tipping over. However, you still need to take care when driving them as you would be driving a car. Snowmobiles are motorized vehicles that move fast. This adds to the excitement of a winter safari, however, you need to drive safely at all times and be fully in control of the snowmobile.
- • You need a driving license.
- • Read the operating instructions.
- • Never ride a snowmobile under the influence of alcohol.
- • Check the weather forecast. The winter season can be unpredictable and the weather can quickly change. You don’t want to get caught in a snowstorm.
- • Stick to official routes or recommended tracks.
- • Don’t leave home without a map. Plan where you’re going on your snowmobile. Bear in mind that your phone might not always receive a signal so you will need reasonable navigational skills to work out where you are going and how to get home. Pick up a map from Scandinavian Travel Group office. It usually includes additional information on snowmobile routes, gas station and landmarks of the area that are useful to know.
- • Bring water and a snack to keep you energized on your route.
- • Respect nature.
- • Watch your speed. It is tempting to drive fast but when snowy terrain can be unpredictable, especially if you are in unfamiliar territory.
- • If you are not a confident on a snowmobile, don’t ride alone. Stick to a group. Snowmobile safaris are good for this.
Wear protective clothing on a snowmobile
Think of it as riding a motorcycle. Protective clothing helps to keep you safe. On a snowmobile safari you need protection from the cold too. The recommended items of clothing are:
- • Helmet
- • Thick insulated gloves to protect fingers from the cold when holding on to the handlebars
- • Thermal layers
- • Thermal overall: jacket and pants in one piece
- • Wool socks
This clothing and gear is provided to all our clients during an organized snowmobile safari program and also during the rental of snowmobile.
Staying safe on a snowmobile tour
Don’t jump on your snowmobile without your helmet. Drivers and passengers have to wear them. You are also responsible for under-15s wearing them. This also includes passengers travelling in a sleigh pulled by a snowmobile. Unfortunately, serious accidents can happen on snowmobiles. Driving too fast on icy roads and unfamiliar tracks can result in serious injuries. Make sure you are wearing your helmet correctly to give your head the best possible protection if you are involved in a snowmobile accident.
Rules for riding snowmobiles
Snowmobiling is all about having fun on snow but there are rules to keep everyone safe.
- • You need to be at least 15 years old to ride a snowmobile. However, if you are in a supervised practice area, under-15s are allowed to drive a snowmobile. For example, The Scandinavian Travel Group’s family snowmobile safari has mini snowmobiles for children aged 4-12. The kids are allowed to ride smaller lightweight vehicles in a safe and supervised environment.
- • Watch out for other people and be respectful of the environment you are riding in. The speed limit on off-road terrain is 60 km/h.
- • Stick to the marked trails on a snowmobile safari.
- • You also need a valid driver’s license of category B, T, A1 or A (i.e. car or motorbike).
- • Don’t drink alcohol and drive.
Bear in mind, you can easily take a tumble off a snowmobile even when you are not traveling at speed. It often happens because people are inexperienced when it comes to driving snowmobiles and are unfamiliar with the controls. For example, if you accidentally twist the throttle it can take you by surprise. The unexpected acceleration can take you off course causing you to tumble from your ride if you are unprepared.
There is no doubt that speed makes riding smoother and takes the shock out of those unexpected bumps in the trail but make sure you don’t go too fast. If you are careful and observant, you will have a great time on a snowmobile. These are stable vehicles and even the co-driver has handles to hold on to. You never get the feeling that you are about to come flying off. Make sure you have a firm grip on the handlebars and enjoy yourself.
Santa’s House of Snowmobiles
If you want to find out more about snowmobiles and how the designs have evolved, visit the exhibition in Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland. At Santa’s House of Snowmobiles you can take a closer look at the snowmobiles over the decades and see the changing shape and style of the designs. You will also see clothing equipment and interesting articles relating to snowmobiles. It is fun for all the family. There are snowmobile racing computer games for those who like the technology side of things.
Book a snowmobile safari or hire snowscooters in Lapland
Simply book your snowmobile safari online or email us: email@example.com and our travel agent will be in touch. Or call/WhatsApp/Viber +358 400 514 530.
Scandinavian Travel Group also offers other exciting tour options if you want to make the most of your Arctic adventure.
- • Northern Lights Hunting by Car
- • Snowshoeing at Night to Hunt for Aurora
- • Horse Riding After Dark
- • Reindeer Safari at Night
Look on our website for inspiration and ideas when planning a winter holiday or contact us directly for more details and prices of these other tour options.