NEW REVISED ITINERARY FOR 2017!! Gives us more time at the cabins, less time on the road, same price as before.
2017 Northern Lights Expeditions to Norway, travelling by road and snow scooter, staying in mountain cabins. Including food, ice fishing, snow scooter use and optional photo/video tuition. You must book your own flights to Alta, Norway.
December 2016. Please contact me if you would like a bespoke tour in November or December 2016 or March/April 2016.
Arrive 19th January 2017, depart January 25th 2017. £1,350 per person. Max 7 people. (cost of flights NOT included).
IF tour 1 fills and second tour will operate from January 25th to January 31st.
The tour dates are timed for optimum moon conditions. You don’t want a bright full moon making the Auora invisible! While the prices may seem high do consider that food is included for most of the trip. Eating out in Norway is very expensive, breakfast, lunch and an evening meal could easily cost £65-£100 ($100-$150) per day. A one day snow scooter safari costs around £400 to £500 so I hope you can see that these adventure tours really are excellent value. Where possible we now also go Dog Sledding on one day. There is an extra charge 1000 NOK (approx 100 Euro) per person for this. You will spend a half day with the dog teams and get to drive your own team of dogs during a 1 hour dog sled ride.
Please use the contact form to hold a place and for more details. Spaces limited.
Every year I run small expeditions to Norway. These trips have proved to be so popular that I have had to turn people away most years and many people come back year after year.
These are magical experiences of a lifetime. These expeditions are very different to the more normal Northern Lights excursions to Tromso where you will often be transported by bus to commonly used Aurora viewing locations where you may have 40 or more people all trying to get the best vantage point, tripping over cameras and tripods and dazzling one another with torches. In addition when out for the night on a bus, if you get cold there is nowhere to go and warm up. This is not my idea of fun and it spoils the moment. That’s why I developed these expeditions.
The first day is the arrival day. You must make your own way to ALTA in Northern Norway. There are flights to ALTA FROM TROMSO AND OSLO. You will be met at the airport and taken to a hotel nearby. If you arrive early enough, after diner if the weather conditions are good then we will spend the evening watching the Northern Lights from one of several locations that offer great viewing and photo opportunities.
On Day 2 we leave the hotel at 9 am to make the 2 hour drive to just outside of small town of Karasjok. On the way we will stop to photograph frozen ice falls along the roadside and often we encounter reindeer herds as we get closer to Karasjok. We should arrive outside Karasjok at 11.30am
Here we exchange our mini-bus for snow scooters as we prepare to head off into the remote Arctic wilderness. After a 60 minute (16km) snow scooter ride up through a beautiful snow covered forest, up beyond the tree line and across frozen lakes we will come to a group of small huts at a remote place called Ravnastua.
This is a magical place, far from the stresses of our modern lives where life is simple, the air is clear and fresh and the scenery breath taking. After a simple lunch, weather permitting we will have a short snow scooter excursion to explore the area around the cabins. Then we have time to settle in and prepare to spend the evening watching out for “Thor’s Chariots” or the Northern Lights. The small valley the cabins nestle in shelters us from the wind. If you get cold you can pop back inside to warm up by the log fire or enjoy a drink or two.
Day 3 is spent exploring the local area by snow scooter. We often encounter Reindeer herds and husky dog teams. I run optional video and stills photography workshops during the short day. Sunrise is at 9am, the sun starts to set around 2pm, but takes a couple of hours to go down, giving an incredible two hours where the light is breathtaking. This is Golden Hour.
Our accommodation in the cabins is shared, 4 beds to a room. Heating is from a log stove. Toilets and washing facilities are very basic as it is too cold for running water. Outside it can get down to -40c. The coldest one of my expeditions has experienced is -36c (-16c to -26c is typical) but you will be prepared for the cold and I can even arrange clothing rental if needed. We are never far from a warm and cosy cabin. Inside it’s warm, comfortable and the atmosphere in the evenings is social and highly enjoyable sitting around the log burner enjoying our host Oskars local stories, enjoying a drink and watching the stars and Aurora. Ravnastua was chosen as the final destination due to it’s mountain location. The locals say that when the temperature gets down to -20c then the sky will be clear. Our experience is that this is indeed true and every year we have seen the Aurora from this location on the majority of nights.
Day 4 will be spent further exploring the local area, possibly with an excursion to Karasjok, or ice fishing on one of the frozen lakes either drilling holes in the ice for fishing rods or cutting a larger hole with a chainsaw for Finnish style under ice net fishing. It should however be remembered that we will be in the arctic so all activities are weather and snow conditions permitting. Those that have not driven a snow scooter before will get a brief lesson on how to drive and handle a snow scooter. Again the evening is spent watching for the Northern Lights. On at least one evening Oskar will prepare the traditional Sauna Hut. This is a communal sauna hut with a large cast iron long burning stove. Water is poured on the stove to create steam and the hut becomes a very hot Sauna. This is how the locals stay clean. Rolling in the snow between sauna sessions is optional, but highly recommended! When you get back to your nice warm cabin after the Sauna there is no need for a hair dryer as you’ll be able to just brush out the ice. Your hair will freeze during the short walk to the main huts, but I promise you won’t feel cold at all.
Day 5 is a free day at the mountain cabins where you will be free to explore on your own by snow scooter. In the afternoon, if wanted, there will be fun snow scooter egg and spoon races out on a frozen lake. Weather permitting we may take an excursion to another group of mountain cabins at Mollysjok further up the Finmarksvidda.
Day 6 is our last day at the cabins. On one day we will enjoy an optional dog sled excursion. We will either travel to a local Husky dog farm and then go on a dog sled ride from there, or 3 teams of dogs will come to the cabins and guests will be able to go on a dog sled ride directly from the cabins. In either case everyone gets the option to drive their own team of dogs. In the late afternoon we will leave the cabins and travel by snow scooter back to the main road and from there transfer back to the mini bus to return to Alta. In the evenong if the skies are clear we will go Aurora hunting along the coast near Alta.
Day 7 is departure day. If your flight is later in the day you can explore some of Alta’s museums and galleries in your own time.
From some of my guests from previous trips:
Judy & I have been back from our Northern Lights adventure for four days now and we are browsing photos and still buzzing! Being lucky enough to see the Aurora on five nights was sufficient, but thanks to you and your ‘in-house team’, we did so much more – so many new experiences.
From your comprehensive pre-trip advice on clothing, conditions and timetable we really were as prepared as we could have been and the whole group agreed that, once there, the leadership balance was right – a good mix of precise arrangements and flexibility for us to do what we wanted within a safe environment. Ice fishing, riding the ski scooters, ‘cross country’ skiing, sauna and naked snow rolling were all optional but were taken up by most of the group. And still time for us to take in the local (-24ºC) environment on our own, or enjoy your company in Oskar’s warm and cosy hut.
And we never thought we would get used to an outside loo in -24ºC but, this included, we wouldn’t have changed anything about the trip! Thank you, Alister
Judy & Ian
‘Thank you’ seems so inadequate to describe one of the best adventures of our lives. Our trip with you (January 2012) to Ravnastua in Northern Norway was exceptionally well organised, perfectly prepared and inspirationally led. We were lucky enough to see exceptional Aurora activity on 5 consecutive nights, but also experienced, and enjoyed, stars and galaxies, snow scooter rides, skiing, reindeer herds, husky sleds, fishing through a hole in the ice, sub-zero temperatures down to -32°C., sauna and jumping (naked) into snow drifts, meals of elk, reindeer, pike, snow berries and the most flavoursome salmon ever, fabulous frozen vistas and bonding friendships that can only come from such an adventure.