Snowmobiling in Tromsø: All You Need To Know

At a quick glance, spotting the city of Tromsø on the Norwegian map isn’t like pointing out Paris in France but this needle in a haystack is one of the biggest Norwegian cities, with approximately 75,000 inhabitants. If you’re in Tromsø, you basically have the best seats in the house to view the elusive Northern Lights. Scattered by century-old wooden houses, Tromsø has a fine blend between iconic structures like the 1965 Arctic Cathedral; and urban establishments like vibrant bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.

Island city of Tromsø, Norway
Island city of Tromsø, Norway

But in this article, we won’t talk about the Northern Lights, the city’s architecture, or the nightlife. The sport of snowmobiling in Tromsø takes center stage in this article and we will try to equip you with information on the subject. For most people, a snowmobile is an alien vehicle and in this article, we will try to demystify the adrenaline-inducing sport.

Simply put, a snowmobile is a motorized version of a sled and although it was built and used for transportation in snow-clad regions, it is now being used recreationally. A large number of snowmobiles built over the last 25 years accommodate just one person, that’s because two-seaters, don’t form a big slice of the market pie. The basic snowmobile structure is enclosed, it has a motor propelling the sled forward and skis in the front to help steer the vehicle.

The Arctic nature of the region of Tromsø makes it the ideal playground to cruise around in a snowmobile. The terrain is snow white as far as your eyes can see, and even further, allowing you to satisfy the explorer in you. The lack of human inhabitants along with the dominant presence of glacial valleys, and pine forests accentuate Tromsø’s snowmobiling prowess. During the course of this article, we will talk you through some of the best snowmobiling spots in and around Tromsø, different options, the best time to go snowmobiling, risks & equipment involved, and most importantly…the price range.

Snowmobiling in Tromsø
Snowmobiling in Tromsø

Snowmobiling in Tromsø: Spots and Routes

Tromsø itself, being a proper metropolitan city, cannot accommodate snowmobiling as an activity. However, the region of Tromsø (outside the city) has plenty of options, for one to enjoy this wild sport. In order to meet ideal snowmobiling conditions, you’d have to venture about an hour or so outside the city limits. Snowmobile instructors guide you through this exhilarating experience, right from picking you up, training you, up until dropping you back to the city.

Pickup and drop point

The starting point of the activity itself is remote, making it difficult to access for tourists and locals too. The instructors have you covered in this case. Almost all of the pickup points are located in the city center of Tromsø, next to the harbor located in the South-East part of Tromsø. The Scandic Ishavshotel, The Magic Ice Bar, and Samuel Arnesens Gate 9 are the most popular pickup points in Tromsø.

Having said that, your pickup point might change according to your instructor, so make sure you have a word with them before planning your day. All of the spots mentioned above are located on the South-East coast of the city and are easy to find on Google Maps.

Starting point or Campsite

As mentioned earlier, the starting point for snowmobiling in Tromsø is actually outside the city. So, once you board your vehicle at the pickup point, you journey away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets into the tranquil Arctic wilderness.

Camp Tamok

Approximately 1.5 hours South on Highway E8, will take you to Camp Tamok, which is a popular campsite for dog sledding as well as snowmobiling. Characterised by vast open snow clad plains, snowmobiling in Camp Tamok also gives you the chance to encounter mountains and valleys such as Tamokfjellet, Vasssedalen, and Finndalen.

 

 

Snowmobiling in Camp Tamok
Snowmobiling in Camp Tamok

There is a special trail that begins in Tamokdalen and leads you to the ice domes of the Tamok Valley, on snowmobiles. Set among high mountains in the beautiful Tamok Valley, Tromsø Ice Domes is built every year as the Polar Night approaches.

The snow and ice art reflects the unique bond between man and nature in a unique and breath-taking manner. The ice bar, our ice cinema, the ice bedrooms, and ice restaurant have themes ranging from local Sami culture to the northern lights conveyed through beautiful colored lighting and wonderful ice sculptures. If you’d like to book the ice dome + snowmobiling excursion, click the provided link for booking information. However, it is also possible to go snowmobiling in the Tamok Valley , without visiting the Ice Dome.

A bar inside the Tromsø Ice Dome

 

A bar inside the Tromsø Ice Dome

Lyngen Alps

Another starting point for the activity is in the Lyngen Alps area which is situated to the East of Tromsø’s city center. Getting to the region is made possible by a quick ferry ride from Tromsø. The snowmobiling trail in the Lyngen Alps takes you into the lap of steep mountains, contrary to the vast open plains of Camp Tamok. 

Please note that the fare of the ferry ride to and from Tromsø, may or may not be covered by your instructor, so to avoid any surprises, it’s better to ask the instructor first.

Snowmobiling in Lyngen Alps

 

Snowmobiling in Lyngen Alps

If you answer to the call of the mountains and find yourself snowmobiling in the Lyngen Alps region, your trail goes along mountains such as Trollvasstinden, Isskardtinden, Sofiatinden, Jægervasstinden, Stortinden, and frozen lakes such as Jægervatnet & Trollvatnet. The tour also consists of a break for refreshments like coffee and if you’re lucky you might be able to greet moose, reindeer, fox, otter, eagles, and raves.

If you’d like to go snowmobiling in the Lyngen Alps , click the provided link for booking and other information related to the activity.

popular campsites for snowmobiling in Tromsø

 

Camp Tamok and Lyngen Alps – 2 popular campsites for snowmobiling in Tromsø

The scenery does not dramatically change from one campsite to another but if you notice the subtle nuances, each trail and campsite has its own charm.

Different type of snowmobiling variants

Half-day excursion

A half-day snowmobiling excursion usually lasts 5 hours but truth be told, it could leave you with a sense of wanting more at the end. What’s more is that the 5-6 hour duration is inclusive of breaks, transport, and training, leaving perhaps not enough time to actually practice snowmobiling. If you’re short on time, it is better than not trying the activity at all but given the time, picking a full-day excursion is an easy choice.

Snowmobiling in the evening during a full-day excursion in Tromsø

 

Snowmobiling in the evening during a full-day excursion in Tromsø

Full-day excursion

A full-day snowmobiling excursion is actually the most popular choice among participants. The excursion lasts around 10 hours including breaks, transport to and from the pickup point, and snowmobiling, of course. Meals are usually taken care of by the instructors but we can’t speak for everyone, it’s always better to check. Although a basic level of physical fitness is required for snowmobiling it isn’t the most tiring sport in the world – making it easy to last the whole day.

Equipment to go snowmobiling in Tromsø

Snowmobiling isn’t a conventional sport and other than the obvious snowmobile itself, the sport requires gear without which it is fatal to try the activity. The items on the checklist below are usually provided to you by your instructor, however it is worth the effort to confirm if the instructor will or will not do so, before you depart for the activity:

Snowmobiling equipment which is usually provided by the instructor

 

Snowmobiling equipment which is usually provided by the instructor

  • Snowmobile jacket
  • Snowmobile bibs or pants
  • Snowmobile gloves/mittens
  • Base layer shirt and pants
  • Mid-layer shirt and pants
  • Helmet
  • Heated helmet shield
  • Goggles with multiple lenses
  • Quality snowmobile socks
  • Snowmobile boots
  • Balaclava or face mask

Risks and requirements to go snowmobiling in Tromsø

Snowmobiling is not your run of the mill adventure sport. It requires careful attention, a lack of which could easily result in fatal accidents. Having said that, snowmobiling is like an easy version of driving a car – the rules are few but they must be followed at all costs.

We’ll let the instructors deal with teaching you the technical side of snowmobiling, in this article we will cover the absolute basic requirements of the sport. Drivers must be 18 years of age and hold a valid driver’s license – that is non-negotiable. Participants must be able-bodied, no pregnant women are allowed on the trail. The minimum age limit for passengers varies, depending on the instructor but it’s usually 10 years of age.

An average level of fitness is required, despite being comfortably seated on the snowmobile. Why? Well because, if the snowmobile gets stuck in the snow (as it does a few times), you need to push the snowmobile out of there. Usually, a speed limit is set by the instructor in order to avoid dangerous moments. Another risk could be the super icy conditions if you’re not used to the sport of snowmobiling.

Season for snowmobiling in Tromsø

Snowmobiling is a winter sport and for that reason, the time between December to March is ideal to go snowmobiling in Tromsø. One thing worth knowing is that even though you can go snowmobiling in the same month as another person, in the same place, there’s a good chance your experience differs completely.

Snowmobiling in Tromsø with the Northern Lights in the background

 

Snowmobiling in Tromsø with the Northern Lights in the background

Some days are darker, even during the winter months but it provides for a spectacular experience, you don’t want to miss. Subject to how lucky you are, there’s a chance you’ll see the Northern Lights.

Prices to go snowmobiling in Tromsø

150 euros to 300 euros per person, is the average price range one has to pay in order to go snowmobiling. If it is a half-day excursion, the activity costs around the region of 150 euros and 200 euros. However, a full-day excursion can cost you around 300 euros. Although these prices may seem a bit steep but considering the unique experience given by the activity and the economy of Norway, the prices are quite alright.