All you need to know about driving a snowmobile in Lapland!

Frozen lakes, knee-high amounts of snow and temperatures of minus twenty. Yes, the last few days we spent, together with our friends Thomas and Christine, in Finnish Lapland! An absolute must-do activity there is snowmobile driving. Together with Kari from Ivalo Trek, went on a snowmobile track where we drove over frozen lakes for over three hours and through the beautiful wilderness. In this blog, I will tell you everything you need to know when you book a snowmobile trip!All you need to know before driving a snowmobile in Lapland (Finland)


Wednesday morning, 10 am, we are in the Northern part of Finland, at the snowmobile company Ivalo Trek sitting on two big, red snowmobiles. Completely wrapped up in warm clothing I am behind Ries. In front of us, Kari, the instructor gets on his snowmobile. He has just explained to us how the devices work and Ries cannot wait to start driving. After the first meters I relax, I thought this was a bit scary, but now that I’m sitting on the scooter, I notice how cool this is. The lakes and rivers in Lapland are frozen from mid-October to mid-April. Since temperatures at night are sometimes -40, the ice is thick, in some places even more than a meter. On top of that there is a good layer of snow and there you go the perfect base for driving around on a snowmobile. Even traffic signs and paths are created on the snowy ice. For the local population, moving around on the ice is one of the most normal things in the world.

Snow, forests and nothing else

We booked the Couple Safari, a private tour for the four of us. The enthusiastic Kari takes us to quiet places where we hardly meet anyone. Or as he calls it: the real wilderness! Soon we drive on a large frozen lake and we see nothing but snow and hills with forests in the distance. With a speed of up to 80 kilometres per hour, we slide over the ice. It gives you an adrenaline rush and you feel at the same time free as a bird! I sit against Ries and I enjoy the peace around us.

After a while, we lower our speed and drive into a forest. Between the dark pines, we go up and down the hills. Down sometimes feels like a small roller coaster. Even though it’s 15 degrees below zero and the wind is blowing pretty cold, we don’t feel cold at all. The thick suits and special gloves and helmets we wear are protecting us against the cold weather. With the Go Pro, I make some videos, making pictures isn’t possible while driving, but Kari makes sure we stop often enough. He has a good eye for photography himself and points good photo spots out to Ries and Thomas.

Hot chocolate

After about one and a half hour, we arrive at a wooden house. It lies idyllically on the edge of a frozen lake, with woods behind it and a think layer of snow on the roof. Behind the house, there is a shelter where you can chop wood to make a campfire. When I have admired the area, I step inside the house. Kari is already making hot chocolate milk and Christine writes something in the guestbook. Kari tells us how he ended up here in this Northern town. He worked for years as a sales manager in a big city in the middle of Finland, resulting in a busy and sometimes stressful life. And so he decided to seek silence in the north of Finland. People live here at a quiet pace and are much more outside in nature. Before we went to Lapland I couldn’t imagine the latter: it’s way too cold to be outside? But now that we have been outside for a while, the cold is not that bad and we completely understand why people spend so much time outside. It’s so quiet and beautiful and it feels like a different world. Despite the cold, you just want to be outside constantly to enjoy everything!

Mini igloos

After being warmed up by the hot chocolate, we step back on the snowmobiles. Soon we tear (controlled) through the woods again. Ries stops at the top of a hill. The rest continues, but we enjoy a few seconds of the view of white lakes and forested hills in the distance. Then he hits the speed again. When we have overtaken the rest of the group, we make a short stop on a bridge over a river that is covered with round snow, like dozens of mini igloos. I don’t know what it exactly is, but it’s certainly beautiful. At this place, we put the drone up to take some pictures.

Once out of the woods, Thomas (who has Christine sitting behind him) and Kari speed up again. Sometimes we bounce over heaps of ice, or Kari deviates a bit from the ridden path or and we glide through the soft snow. After a short stop at a cute old fisher cottage, we slowly return to the civilized world. A few more hills and then we are back again. We look at each other, what a great experience. Yesterday we went for a Husky ride, which was also very nice, but this certainly exceeds that! Especially if you like a bit of an adrenalin kick!


What do you need to know before booking a snowmobile trip in Lapland?

Ivalo Trek

Are you travelling near Ivalo or Saariselka? Then I can wholeheartedly recommend Ivalo Trek. Kari, the owner, is an enthusiastic man who takes you into nature! He takes the time for you and does everything he can to make this an amazing experience. In addition, Ivalo Trek is not a big commercial company, something that’s a big plus for us! The activities are done in small groups and attention is paid to you! Don’t you have a car? No problem, Ivalo Trek will pick you up at your hotel.

What do you wear for a snowmobile trip?

At Ivalo Trek, you will get a lot of the necessary stuff. There are wool socks, special snowshoes, helmets, balaclavas, gloves and suits that you can borrow. We wore our normal outerwear, consisting of thermo layers, a ski jacket and ski pants, scarves and socks. What is useful to take with you is a pair of sunglasses, the sun can be bright. You don’t need anything else. If you have a Go Pro, the helmets of Kari contain sliders that you can attach your Go Pro to.Snowmobiling Lapland Finland

Is a snowmobile trip safe?

As you might know, I am not really a daredevil, but despite that, I have not felt unsafe on the snowmobiles for a single moment! They are stable and as a co-driver, you have special handles that you hold on to. The suits and helmets protect you and through the good instructions from Kari Thomas and Ries knew exactly how to drive.

Nevertheless, you have to be careful. You sit on a vehicle that can reach high speed and you drive through the woods. I have also heard stories of people who have had awkward accidents with snowmobiles, but that is something that you yourself are at. If you stick to the instructions and drive normally, these vehicles are perfectly safe. Also, Kari’s extensive safety instructions helped a lot with this.

What does a snowmobile trip cost?

The tour we did cost € 130 per person*. That includes hot chocolate, gear, insurance, etc. There are also a number of other and longer tours that you can do.

Tip: book a private tour or a tour with a small group! We sometimes heard less positive stories about other (large) companies in which people were in too big groups and had to drive less than 35km/h.

For more information check out ivalotrek.com or contact Ivalo Trek via ivalotrek@gmail.com


Click here for all my other blogs on Lapland and Finland!


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All you need to know before driving a snowmobile in Lapland (Finland)


* We were invited by Ivalo Trek, however, everything above is true to me, as always I reflect my own opinion and experience.

**Credits of photography: both Thomas Kroon and Ries made the pictures for this blog. For contact details from Thomas, sent me a message.

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