Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Snowmobiling @ Nellim

In my trip to Finland, you can say that the snowmobiles were the most frequent mode of transport used in all the activities organised by the Wilderness Hotel Nellim. I've participated in 3 events that uses the snowmobiles, the night snowmobiling, the day snowmobiling, and the day with a reindeer herder which basically uses the snowmobiles to get around. You will need to sign a disclaimer form stating that you'll be responsible for your own safety, yada yada yada, before you ride the snowmobile, which the hotel will give you when you check-in.

For this post, I will concentrate on the night and day snowmobiling. Contrary to the naming of the programme, the 2 programmes are quite different.

Although it is stated that you may see auroras during the night snow mobiling, you won't have time to setup a tripod and stay there for many hours in order to take that ultimate photo. The main focus is still riding the snowmobile at night. You may have time for a shot or 2 but definitely not enough time to setup a tripod, setup the camera, and take that perfect shot. The night snowmobile ride concentrates more on maneuvering the snowmobile through tight corners, and going up and down slope. They will bring you up one of the small hills around Nellim but at that time, we couldn't see any aurora because it was snowing quite heavily. There is a short stretch of flat land at the lake where you can speed, but due to the low visibility, you will not be able to go above 30 km/hr. Even then, my night snowmobile ride started at 930pm and ended at around 1230pm.

The day snowmobiling is completely different. Personally, I felt that the focus is more on traveling fast and furious. The photos below will show the day snowmobile programme because it's really quite difficult to take pictures of the snowmobiles at night, in that limited time that is allocated for it. The day snowmobile ride is much longer. It started at 10.30am but ended at around 4pm. Lunch (campfire) is included. :)

Basically for all snowmobile rides, the guide will let you have a practice run around the lake before starting off. As I had my first snowmobile run at night, I was surprised by the speed that they took when they went off in the day. The average speed was about 40-50km/hr. You might think it's slow but do remember that the track that you're on is not even and you will need to balance the snowmobile and make sure it doesn't get stuck into deep snow. After all, if you damage the snowmobile too much, you will still need to pay for it. You will also need to be careful to drive only on certain tracks because not all the ice could bear the weight of the snowmobile and yourself. The guide will let you know the safe areas to ride.

Below is a picture of all the snowmobiles during one of our stops in the day snowmobile trip.

Pictures of the snowmobiles at the cabin where we had our lunch

Obviously we're all beginners but during one of the breaks we had, the guide actually let some of us have the experience of sitting in a snowmobile that is being driven well, fast and furious. Below are a couple of pictures of some people having fun.

The snow we were in was pretty deep, and the guide proved it by positioning some blocks of ice he found around the tracks made by our snow mobile. Look! It can stand!

Below is a scenery of a place during one of our stops. Isn't it beautiful?

Below is the picture of the cabin where we had our reindeer sandwich lunch. You can still see the smoke coming out of the chimney. The reindeer meat was delicious. Apparently, the recipe used is shared by Gordon Ramsay when he came to Finland previously. It is very good.

Below is a picture of one of the toilets you may see in the wilderness at Nellim, built by the Finnish government. 

Below is a picture of something which I still couldn't make out, but I find the structure unique. It was right next to the cabin we were in where we had our lunch. :)

Last but not least, I couldn't resist trying out my new Kenko extension tube when I was out roaming around when lunch was cooked. Below is a picture of a small plant covered with snow, and I was trying to play with the focusing ring. :)

More posts soon on more activities in Finland!

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