6 days on a Snowmobile in wild Northern Russia

Date Date 03.02.-08.02.2019 / 09.02.-14.02.2019 (route backwards) / 15.02.-20.02.2019 / 26.03.-31.03.2019
Participants 4-10 Price EUR 1380,-

 

Short description:
Discover the Northern Russian Wilderness on a Snowmobile. North of the Polar Circle you will explore areas of the Kola Peninsulas that can be reached in summer only by boat or helicopter (if at all). You will maneuver with your snowmobile through deep snow and quiet white forests, over icy mountain passes, frozen lakes, rivers and bogs. You will encounter remote villages of reindeer herders and with some luck you will be able to see the big reindeer herds and some polar lights. Warm up in the russian sauna "banya" and stay the night at friendly host families in remote villages and in comfy and warm forest cabins.

We advise you to drive on your own snowmobile. if you plan to share the skidoo with your friend or partner, this is possible but please contact us for advise. Suitable for motivated participants (beginners and experienced drivers) who enjoy snow and ice and who do not mind overnights in rustic but warm wooden huts (2-bed or 3-bed-rooms).

The route:
Kirovsk – Khibiny – Lake Umbozero – Lake Lovozero – Village of Krasnoshelye– Village of Varzuga – Village of Kuzomen – White Sea – City of Kandalaksha

The trip starts from the largest mountain massif on the peninsula, the Khibiny. We’ll spend a day to explore the paths, to climb the peaks by snowmobile, and to race in mountain valleys. After the Khibiny you can view the Lovozero tundras, a mysterious mountain massif which is said by some be the center of an ancient Hyperborean civilization. Hundreds of kilometers of forest-tundra and huge peat bogs separate the village of Krasnoshelye (“red ravine”) from civilization. Expedition participants will spend a day there getting to know the life of this unique settlement from inside. In Krasnoshelye you’ll taste local delicacies that are not served in any of the restaurants! The expedition will end in the old Pomor village of Varzuga, famous for its wooden churches that include the Church of the Assumption built in 1674 “not using a single nail”. And, of course, by the end of the expedition you’ll see the White Sea full of ice-drift.

Points of interest along the route: distinctive life of indigenous northern people, reindeer herds, mountains, tundra, forests, lakes, virgin landscapes, fishing, mountain lakes, Pomor villages, the 17th century Church of the Assumption, the White Sea, the Village of Krasnoshelye, sauna with snow rolls.
You will have a good chance of seeing wild animals (partridges, grouse, foxes, hares, reindeer) and aurora borealis.

How to get there:
You should buy a flight to Murmansk, Saint Petersburg or Moscow - the first being the nearest, the last being the furthest away from the tour. So it might be a good idea to combine the tour with a visit to one (or more) of these cities.
We will help you finding the best and cheapest flight for you and we will organise all transports in Russia for you.
The tour itself starts in Kirovsk and ends with a bus transfer to a town called Kandalaksha, both on the Kola Peninsula.
Kandalaksha has a trainstation with connections to Murmansk, Petersburg and Moscow. So does Apatity where we will pick you up at the start.
So either you come there by train (organised by us) or you fly to Murmansk and we will pick you up from the airport there for a 3 hour transfer.

Enrolment until: 6-7 weeks before departure (later enrolment not outruled)

Included

all overnights and meals according to program; snowmobile rental; winter clothes and equipment as described in our package list; transfers from Apatity train station to the start of the tour, transfer to Kandalaksha train station in the end; Russian and English speaking guide; certificate of insurance against operator’s insolvency.

What to bring

Prepare for daytime temperatures between 0° and -25° C. At times the sun (with the reflection of the snow) can be quite intense, even in February. But of course colder temperatures will prevail. At night it can be even colder, but if it is a clear night with polar lights you want to be prepared to go out for a while to watch the spectacular northern sky.

Good, warm winter clothing is essential on this tour, but parts of it are included. We will provide: special warm snowmobile boots, winter overall for snowmobiles, helmets with an eyepiece and balaclavas (woolen hats to wear under the helmets), special furry mittens in case of very cold weather.

Bring normal warm skiing gloves, they are usually enough (skidoo handles are heatable). For details see the package list.

Do NOT bring hard suitcases, but soft bags or backpacks with no more than 60-70 litres volume.

Do NOT use your glasses when riding the snowmobile! They will steam up and freeze immediately. Bring contact lenses or use special glasses for alpine skiing.

Attention! In order to obtain a Russian visa you need a passport with a validity of at least 6 months longer than the date of your exit from Russia.

Packing list (PDF)

Extra expenses

Visa to Russia cost approx. 100-120 €.
Direct flights from airports in Germany to Petersburg or Moscow cost in winter around 100-250 € for both ways.

Prices for flights to Murmansk vary a lot. Not from all airports it is easy to find good connections with a short stopover.
The 23 hour train ride from Petersburg in a 4-bed-compartment will cost you approx. 100 € (one way).
The 32 hour train ride from Moscow in a 4-bed-compartment will cost you approx. 120 € (one way).
The 3,5 hour train ride from Murmansk starts at 30 €.
We can obtain all these train tickets for you and organize your transfers.

For some of these connections it might be necessary (or desirable if you want to stay longer) to include an overnight in a hotel somewhere. We will advise you about possibilities according to your personal needs and wishes!

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