Snowmobiling in Lapland is one of the best and most rewarding activities you can do. You’ll meander through the trees laden with thick snow, creating new tracks in a winter wonderland.
During our trip to Lapland, we enjoyed embarking on a snowmobile safari so much that we booked multiple trips. In the below guide, we will cover which companies offer the activity, what to expect on the day and a bunch of FAQ’s. We’ve also thrown in some top tips so that you can get the most out of the experience.
WHERE TO GO SNOWMOBILING IN LAPLAND
As one of the main tourist attractions in Lapland, you’ll be spoilt for choice when choosing a company to go snowmobiling with. We chose to go with Canterbury Travel and Lapland Safaris in Luosto, however, I’ve plotted the best companies to go with on the interactive map below.
To refer back to this information at a later date, you can bookmark the page.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON A SNOWMOBILE SAFARI IN LAPLAND
Upon arrival, you’ll be briefed on how to use and drive your snowmobile. Sometimes this is done by a short video and other times instructions will be given by your guide. Either way, it’s not a complicated piece of equipment to use and you should get to grips with it quite quickly.
Each snowmobile carries two people – you’ll pair up and each take turns to drive the snowmobile over the course of your 3-4 hour trip.
Depending on your group size you will have one or multiple guides. If your group is large, then you will have a guide every 4-5 snowmobiles and one guide at the back to ensure nobody gets left behind. If you have a group of fewer than 5 snowmobiles then you will have one guide.
If it’s your first time on a snowmobile, your guide will start the safari at a slow pace whilst everyone in your group gets used to the controls and road signs in Lapland. If it’s not your first time and your guide is confident in your abilities, then you’ll likely set off pretty quickly.
Regardless of the route that your guide takes you on, you’ll enjoy a great mix of lumps and bumps through the forest and flat and open planes – this is where you’ll hopefully reach some great speeds! Depending on your location, you may also get the chance to head to the top of the hill and enjoy some great views over Lapland.
Depending on how fast your group is travelling, you should reach the halfway point somewhere between 8km and 15km. It’s at this point that you will take a break from the snowmobiles and you’ll spend some time at a log cabin in the middle of a picturesque Finnish forest. Typically, your guide will make a handmade fire and something for you to drink – usually hot chocolate, tea or coffee. If you’re lucky then you may also get something to eat. This could be some sausages that you cook on the open fire or a piece of cake.
After around 30 minutes at the log cabin, you’ll swap seats with your partner who will guide you back to the base camp. Sometimes the guide will take you on an out and back route and other times it will be a circular loop. Either way, it doesn’t really make a difference you’ll be experiencing the scenery from a different perspective if you’re a passenger. Plus, due to the limited daylight in Lapland, you’ll likely be heading back at sunset or in the dark!
Upon return to the snowmobile safari base, you’ll park up ready for the next users and head back inside to return your helmet. It’s at this point that you can also tip your guide if you wish – or even book another trip if you enjoyed it as much as us!
WHAT TO WEAR FOR A SNOWMOBILING TRIP
During the winter season, Lapland can reach temperatures of -40 degrees. If you’re outside for 3-4 hours in the snow, then you need to ensure that you’re dressed appropriately in order to enjoy the experience. I won’t mention the obvious things to wear for the cold weather, but rather the specific items you’ll need for snowmobiling.
An all in one snowsuit that’s designed for the sub-zero temperatures should be provided by your tour organiser.
Your face will take an absolute battering by the cold winds when you are travelling fast on a snowmobile. A balaclava is one of the most important things to wear on your safari! If you’ve got one with you, then take it with you. If not, then your chosen company should be able to provide one.
We chose the Saitag Balaclava which worked really great as it has a breathable mouth piece that still provides great protection from the cold. There is nothing worse than a thick balaclava that isn’t breathable and leaves you with nothing but a wet face!
- Wind-proof Gloves/Mittens
Wind-proof gloves are equally as important as a balaclava – particularly for the passenger who will not have heated handlebars to cling onto.
I personally always go for mittens as I find they’re warmer. My exact pair are no longer available, however these Roxy Mittens are a similar design.
A helmet with a visor will be provided by your tour provider. Not only is this an important item to wear for your safety, but it will also help to keep you warm while your out in the cold.
If you want to take your own helmet then I’d recommend the Uvex Unisex Helmet. It’s a reputable brand and comes in a bunch of awesome colours.
Although your helmet will come with a visor, i’d recommend taking goggles too. This is because after a while, your visor will fog and freeze in the cold weather. As such, you won’t be able to see much with the visor down and you’ll need a replacement to protect your eyes from the cold wind.
Although I didn’t take my own, if I’d known the above I definitely would have. The ones I have are these Uvex Goggles. They’re long-lasting and come in some great colours, just like the helmet.
SNOWMOBILING IN LAPLAND FAQ
WHICH SIDE OF THE ROAD DO YOU DRIVE THE SNOWMOBILE ON IN LAPLAND?
You’ll need to drive on the left-hand side of the road when snowmobiling anywhere in Finland. That being said, your guide should take you off the beaten track and you should rarely need to think about which side of the road to be on.
HOW OLD DO YOU NEED TO BE TO GO SNOWMOBILING IN LAPLAND?
You don’t need to be a certain age to drive a snowmobile, however, you need to hold a driving licence. You may or may not be asked to provide proof of your driving licence, but I’d recommend having this to hand, just in case.
If you’re travelling with children under the age of 15, then they are unlikely to be able to be a passenger on the snowmobile. Instead, they will be pulled along by the guide in a sleigh.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU FALL OFF THE SNOWMOBILE?
If you fall off the snowmobile then don’t panic – you’ll only land on some soft snow on either side of the tracks and it’s unlikely you’ll injure yourself. I have fallen off a snowmobile, along with a few others who have been in our group at the time. It’s bound to happen but it’s no biggie!
HOW FAST CAN A SNOWMOBILE GO?
A snowmobile is a very powerful piece of equipment and can travel up to a speed of 120kmph. That being said, you almost certainly won’t be hitting these kinds of speeds on your trip. It’s much more likely that you’ll be hitting a maximum of 50kmph which may not be as fast as you’re expecting, however, this feels incredibly fast through the snow.
HOW FAR DO YOU TRAVEL ON A SNOWMOBILE SAFARI IN LAPLAND?
How far you travel on your safari will depend on the confidence of everyone else in your group. The first time we went out, we only went around 15km. The second time, it was almost double that.
TIPS FOR A SNOWMOBILE SAFARI IN LAPLAND
ADDITIONAL INSURANCE FOR SNOWMOBILING
When you book your safari, the company will try and sell you some additional insurance at an extra cost. Whilst this will reduce the excess if you damage any of their equipment, the likelihood of any issues on your trip is very small and you won’t need to purchase this.
BEST TIME TO GO SNOWMOBILING IN LAPLAND
Having been on a snowmobile safari at a few different times of day, I strongly believe the best time to leave is between 10AM and 11AM. This is because you will get the chance to travel at both sunrise and sunset if you are doing a 3-4 hour trip. If you’re lucky enough to be doing the activity on a clear day, then you should get some beautiful orange and pink skies for most of your trip (just like my pictures!).
SPORTS MODE ON THE SNOWMOBILE
The guide will automatically have set your snowmobile to eco. However, if you want to break the rules slightly and have a little more fun, then hit the sports mode button! Shh, no one needs to know!
SAFARI GROUP SIZE
The size of the group will impact how fast you will be able to go on your snowmobile. In a large group, you will most likely be travelling quite slowly as there will be some people who aren’t very confident or fall off frequently. As such, travelling in a small group is much better and something you should go out of your way to ensure you have to get the most out of the experience. Although this can sometimes be slightly more expensive, it’s 100% worth it.
GOING TO THE TOILET ON A SNOWMOBILE TRIP
There will most likely be a toilet at the halfway point during the snowmobile safari. However, it’s usually a compost loo or not particularly nice. After all, it is usually in the middle of the forest and getting a cleaner out there would be pretty tricky. I’d also take some loo roll, just in case!
BOOK SNOWMOBILING IN LAPLAND IN ADVANCE
Snowmobiling is one of the most popular things to do in Lapland. I’d recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment. If you can, try and book at least a week before to ensure that the skies are going to be clear too. It’s tough to balance, but if you manage to get perfect weather and a small group in the middle of the day, then you will have an awesome experience!
CHECK OUT THE SNOWMOBILES BEFOREHAND
It goes without saying that the newer the snowmobile, the better they’re going to be. The new snowmobiles have digital displays and go a bit quicker. The heated handlebars also warm up much quicker, which is particularly important in the height of winter in Lapland!
ALWAYS RIDE AT THE BACK OF THE SNOWMOBILE SAFARI
If you enjoy driving fast, then being at the back of your snowmobiling group is recommended. This is because you can hang back and wait for your group to go ahead, and then hit the accelerator and travel as fast as you can before reaching the group again!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON A SNOWMOBILING IN LAPLAND
To summarise, going snowmobiling in Lapland is one of the best activities you can do during your trip. It is a truly magical bucket list experience that is worth every penny!
As always, if you have any further questions then feel free to drop a comment down below.
If you’re looking for further information on Lapland, then you may be interested in the below posts.
- Husky Safari in Lapland / An amazing adventure through the snow and surrounded by insanely cute huskies!
- Reindeer Safari in Lapland / A peaceful and magical experience through the snowy forest
- Lapland in Winter / The complete guide to visiting Lapland in winter, including best things to do, where stay & what to pack
Millie and Tom x
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