SNOWMOBILE WINTER TOURS INFORMATION SHEET
TOUR OPERATOR CONTACT INFORMATION
Arctic Travel Company GRUMANT
9178 Barentsburg, Svalbard, Norway
+47 976 361 04 (Operations Manager)
+47 941 301 28 (24 hours)
BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS
There are two Norwegian operators - Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Norwegian airlines – that arrange flights to Longyearbyen (Svalbard, Norway) from Tromsø and Oslo offering relatively affordable prices. For more information please visit
Regardless of the “bundle” of flights, the luggage cannot be sent directly to Svalbard and it is necessary to get it in Oslo!
PASSPORT & VISA
Though Svalbard is the VISA-Free territory, please remember that everyone who gets to the archipelago needs to go through passport control. The identity of all travelers between Svalbard and the Norwegian mainland will be checked both upon arrival and departure. If you need a visa to enter Norway, please note that you will have to cross Norwegian borders twice before and after your trip to Svalbard therefore you need a multi-visa.
WEATHER ON SVALBARD
Although Svalbard is located in the high North, it has a relatively soft climate without extremely low temperatures because of the Gulf Stream, warm and swift Atlantic ocean current. Locals call Svalbard "The Arctic Tropics" for its mild weather conditions (compared to other Arctic Regions of course).
In the wintertime, the average temperature on Svalbard is from -10 to -18. It is quite unusual when the temperature is -25°C, -30°C, though it is possible. The key factor is the wind speed and direction as it affects the feeling of temperature drastically. Sometimes the wind speed might be up to 15-20 m/s or even higher.
WHAT TO PACK FOR A WINTER TOUR
In wintertime, average temperatures are not critical but at times it is windy and a snowstorm is possible so it is very important to be well equipped.
The following minimum winter what-to-pack list is recommended:
woolen thermal underwear for low activity (hunting, fishing)
thermal socks (2 pairs)
woolen socks (2 pairs)
warm woolen sweater, fleece jumper or down jacket
warm windproof ski pants
warm winter windproof jacket or parka
warm waterproof winter boots with the hard foot
neck warmer (buff) or scarf
woolen gloves or mittens
warm windproof ski mittens
The following items could also be useful:
greasy skin cream (NIVEA, petroleum jelly, Carmex)
0,5 — 1 litre Thermos
Your bags will be transported on special snowmobile sleds, so for the maximum comfort and safety of your luggage, we recommend packing your personal belongings into soft-carcass bags.
EQUIPMENT AND SNOWMOBILE PROVIDED
warm windproof and water-repellent snowmobile suites Sinisalo or similar, designed for the Arctic distribution of NATO border troops, as well known by travel companies on Svalbard. The suites provide comfort for participation in snowmobile tours at temperatures ranging from -5 to -30 degrees. Suit sizes range from ХХS to 7ХL (66). We suggest to put on thermal underwear with fleece pants and jacket under the suites (depending on temperature);
two types of snowmobile helmets: single visor helmet (not full-face), and modular helmet (full-face). Helmets are selected depending on the quantity and size, as well as guest’s comfort;
windproof synthetic balaclava covering the face;
high warm snowmobile boots (Baffin, Kamik), providing comfortable participation in the tours at temperatures from -5 to -30 degrees. Sizes from 36 to 47;
Mittens (Klim, Scott).
All the equipment meets the standards of safety, ecology, hygienic and aesthetic requirements and maximum convenience in use.
Snowmobile: 2-seat snowmobiles, BRP Expedition 600 E-tec and Lynx Commander 600 E-tec. All snowmobiles are in good condition, 2014-2019 years of release.
Guides working on the route have a fairly high level of knowledge and experience on the snowmobile routes in the north and in the Polar regions. Some of them spend 3-4 seasons on Svalbard and some live on the archipelago permanently. Most guides have tens, if not hundreds of thousands of kilometers done on snowmobiles. Most of them have completed various courses, including the International Red Cross First Aid Courses. In addition, before the start of the season, all guides take an internal course in our company. All this will allow you to overcome the route with maximum comfort and safety. All instructors are ready for any unexpected situation that may happen during the trip. Guides have a first-aid kit with all necessary medications, however, we recommend that you take a personalized first-aid kit. We kindly ask you to notify the travel company in advance about any chronic or acute diseases.
In order to ensure safety and prevent emergencies, as well as observing the Svalbard Law, the Arctic Travel Company Grumant:
has a mandatory financial guarantee in case of search and rescue by the Svalbard Rescue Service (the maximum estimated time of arrival of rescuers to any point of Svalbard is no more than 2 hours);
has emergency satellite beacons registered with the Norwegian National Communications Authority.
Guides have radio communications, satellite phones, GPS trackers and an “emergency kit” in case of unforeseen rescue.
The tourist is obliged to follow all the instructions of the guide during the entire tour;
In case of intentional harm to the Company or violation of safety regulations when driving a snowmobile, the client is held responsible.
The tourist is obliged to be respectful to the locals and environment.
The guide has a right to refuse clients participation in the tour at any moment in case of multiple or gross rules violation.
Driving a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited for both drivers and passengers. If alcohol intoxication or drinking is detected, the guide is obliged to refuse the client to participate in the tour.
On Svalbard, weather conditions change quickly so that is why for the safety and comfort of our guests, the tour program might be changed regarding the itineraries and destinations.
THE EXPERIENCE OF DRIVING A SNOWMOBILE
Standard programs are based on the principle "from simple to complex".
Daily track distances range from 60 to 220 km (depending on the route). The average speed while driving is 30 - 40 km / h. The average time on the route, depending on its length and the number of stops, is from 3-4 (on the first day) to 8-10 hours later. The tour difficulty might be affected by the weather conditions, prolonging the time on the road and making it more demanding. Nevertheless, participation without any snowmobiling experience is possible.
Arctic Travel Company Grumant provides insurance that covers all the expenses related to search, rescue, and transfer of affected people in case of emergencies during the tourism services provision.
For participation in our longer trips, the individual participant is required to have individual travel insurance. Such insurance may be purchased from a travel agent or insurance company. We recommend choosing individual travel insurance that covers you worldwide and includes cancellation insurance.
WEIGHT, AGE AND HEALTH LIMITATIONS AND RESTRICTIONS
Depending on the tour, unless other is specified in the tour program:
Children from 8 years old can participate in the tour as passengers in special passenger sleigh. Children from 12 years old are allowed as passengers on snowmobiles. Drivers should be at least 18 years old.
There is no upper age threshold for participation, but the tour can be demanding in regards to the physical conditions.
Participants' weight on one snowmobile should not exceed 180 kg. Guests of 120 kg+ can participate in the tour only as drivers without passengers.
We strongly do not recommend going on a snowmobile safari to:
People with spinal injuries in the year prior to the tour.
People who have diseases of the central nervous system.
If you have any long-term illnesses, and you are not sure whether you can participate in the tour, contact the manager for advice. The tourist is obliged to inform Arctic Travel Company Grumant beforehand about illnesses or possible contraindications to participation in a tour.
The accommodation depends on the selected tour.
Modern and full service hotel with newly-refurbished 46 rooms, 41 rooms of which are standard double / twin and 5 are suite / family rooms. There are bathrooms and TV-sets in every room. Finnish sauna on the ground floor. Dry rooms are available on each floor.
Hotel Pyramiden has been seasonally opened since 2013 with the well preserved interiors of the Soviet Era. There are 43 modern newly-refurbished rooms, including 38 standard double / twin and 5 suite / family rooms .
Restaurant and souvenir shop are on the ground ﬂoor.
NO Wi-Fi OR MOBILE CONNECTION AVAILABLE.
LONGYEARBYEN – RUSSKIY DOM GUESTHOUSE
GUESTHOUSE RUSSKIY DOM in Longyearbyen is a new and modern 2-storey wooden house located in front of Adventfjorden. It can accommodate up to 16 people.
4 rooms with 4 bunk-beds.
Shared showers and toilets.
The hosting company has the right to replace the proposed accommodation options for accommodation of a similar quality or higher.
Double / single accommodation is available in other hotels of Longyearbyen for additional charge. If such decision is made, please let your manager know about it.
EAT & DRINK
Breakfasts are set: continental breakfast or buffet;
Lunches and Dinners are set or a-la carte (Russian and European cuisine with elements of Pomor and Scandinavian Cuisine);
Lunch boxes on the route in the field (natural chicken or meat broth, meat and
fish slices, chicken fillet or meat, potato and cottage cheese rolls, cheese,
bread, tea, snacks and sweets).
All set meals include non-alcoholic beverages.
If there are any dietary restrictions (vegetarianism, allergies, gluten, lactose free etc.), please notify the manager in advance for your own convenience.
Please be advised that Svalbard is a TAX FREE zone. There is a lot of high-quality tourist equipment of leading world and Norwegian brands possible to buy in Longyearbyen shops.
Tons of souvenirs fit any taste. In addition to their wide variety with attributes of the Arctic and Svalbard, there are “handicraft items” - both Norwegian and Russian.
The average bill (without alcohol) in Longyearbyen cafes and restaurants is 350-450 NOK, in Barentsburg and Pyramiden - 250-350 NOK, but meals in Barentsburg and in Pyramiden are mostly included in the tour price.
Souvenirs are priced mainly from 20 to 350 NOK. Souvenirs are sold almost everywhere: in souvenir shops, ordinary stores, on counters in hotels and museums.
There are Norwegian post offices in Barentsburg, Pyramiden and Longyearbyen where in addition to postcards you can choose various Arctic stamps.
Svalbard is a zone of very strict alcohol limits.
You can buy no more than 2 liters of strong alcohol only in stores of Longyearbyen, and only with a boarding pass or a plane ticket presented. Otherwise, alcohol in the stores will not be sold.
You can buy drinks at the bars and restaurants without restriction.
Nevertheless, strong alcohol is served in bars and restaurants only until midnight, other alcoholic drinks – until 1:00 and it is strictly forbidden to take the purchased alcoholic beverages outside, as well as bringing in your own. Violators will have to pay a fine.
If a guest is not sober before or during the trip, he/she will not be allowed to join or continue it. No refund is available in this case.
Based on the Svalbard tourism guidance, during the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, Arctic Travel Company Grumant developed individual measures of preventative actions and infection control for its organization.
Measures of infection control are maintained within all the hotels, hostels and guesthouses, restaurants and bars, public places and tourism services and activities of the Arctic Travel Company Grumant in Barentsburg, Pyramiden and Longyearbyen. As long as the safety of our guests is our highest priority, the following regulations have been implemented:
1 meter distance should be kept between all the guests (except family members, or friends who came together)
transport, infrastructure and all the equipment is properly cleaned and sanitised;
all the equipment is provided individually and is properly cleaned and sanitised before, during and after a tour, activity or any other tourism service rendered;
guides are instructed about infection control and preventive measures of infection spread;
safety briefing for guests before the tour or activity is provided;
the size of a tour group on all active winter tours is limited to 15 guests for the duration of the COVID-19 restrictions. The group is divided into two or more subgroups, if there are more guests;
We also ask our guests to respect and follow regulations to avoid any risks of getting infected:
to maintain proper and accurate hand hygiene;
to keep 1 meter distance;
if a guest feels sick, we earnestly ask you to postpone or cancel the trip;
if a guest has visible symptoms of fever or respiratory infection, we may deny participation in our tours.
DRONE FLYING POLICY
After 1. January 2021, all pilots flying a drone that has a camera or is heavier than 250 g, needs to register at Flydrone.no
It is forbidden to fly drones in a zone with a radius of five kilometres from the airports in Longyearbyen and Svea. Ny-Ålesund also has a zone of 20 km around the city with radio silence and drone ban. This means that in practice there is a ban on flying drones in Ny-Ålesund and throughout Kongsfjorden.
If you are going to fly drones outside the prohibition zone, you must familiarize yourself with the rules of drone flying.
Here are the most important:
it is forbidden to disturb the wildlife on Svalbard
do not fly higher than 120 meters above the ground
keep a distance of 150 meters from people, buildings, boats etc
you must always be able to see your drone
familiarize yourself with the rules of filming and photographing other people
it is not allowed to fly drone in the dark