SAFARIS & RENTAL
Snowmobiling is sort of like riding a motorcycle on snow, and many would argue a lot more fun.
Driving through a silvery forest on a beast of a machine gives a rush that gets people hooked.
The wintry wilderness is every bit as magical as stories make it out to be, and a roaring engine between your legs brings a whole new aspect to entering it. Whisking through snowy scenery is accessible during all six winter months, but the most favoured time is the spring with long sunny days that bring out the best of the immense natural beauty along the routes.
The best way to get into snowmobiling is to take a guided tour. First-timers will be given a driving lesson, which is pretty straightforward: throttle on the right hand, brake on the left. With normal anticipatory driving, the brake is rarely needed. Experienced drivers might want to rent a snowmobile on their own. If heading out unguided, make sure you’re familiar with the route and can properly handle your vehicle, as the most tempting racer skidoos are too powerful and risky for casual drivers.
Taking part in a guided tour is the best way to start your snowmobiling career. A plethora of companies all over Finland provide guided tours ranging from two-hour-trips to safaris that span over several days. Professional guides make sure everything runs safely and surely and drivers can focus on the essential – having fun.
Each snowmobile is allowed to have one passenger, but there’s room for more when a sled is attached. Families and groups of friends travel well with a couple of snowmobiles. Avoiding quarrels is easy by switching drivers. You can head out alone, too, but it’s not the same without other people: happiness is best shared.
Daredevils around the world have turned extreme snowmobiling into an entertaining (and dangerous!) sport. When first snow falls, these crazy sledders are biting their fingernails waiting for snow on the fells to be deep enough for stunts like this. One can only imagine the adrenaline rush.
Safety is an issue that is never to be taken lightly when operating a snowmobile. Helmets must be worn at all times and sufficient safe distances kept between drivers. Put extra consideration into clothing, as it might get cold after a while. Dress well – and we’re not talking stylish here – tuck your shirts into your trousers, gloves into sleeves, and zip your fleece, jacket and trousers all the way up.
Despite it being a wild and fun outdoor activity, there are traffic rules to snowmobiling. To preserve nature, legal trails are marked with signs while private land is a no-go unless approved by the landowner. The speed limit on trails, bogs and in forests is 60 kilometres per hour, and 80 when driving on ice.
Frozen waterways are free to be driven on, and they provide good training ground for getting to know your vehicle. Revving your engine and learning to manoeuvre your skidoo is useful fun. Have a great time, but don’t get too carried away.
There are two kinds of snowmobilers: those who like to go fast and those who treat it as a form of sightseeing. The first group can’t be blamed – speeding across frozen bogs and lakes would rank high on anyone’s excitement scale. On the other hand, cruising vast fell landscapes and silvery forests in a moderate pace is a fantastic experience.
Snowmobiling is a lot more physically demanding than most expect, since ground features are often far from smooth and require constant knee flexing as well as balancing with the upper body.
Snowmobile engines are getting increasingly environmentally friendly. After all, who wouldn’t want to preserve the very terrain they practice their favourite pastime on? Remember: whatever you bring into the wild, you bring back.
After the first 15 minutes, when the initial nervousness is gone, you catch yourself speeding through beautiful landscapes on a machine you had never even mounted before. The thrill of it all is an exhilarating feeling that causes addiction. Sleds away!