I will admit, I was hesitant to go snowmobiling.
As it happens, I am a seriously terrible driver, have no valid drivers licence (let alone an international one) and no winter sports cover on my travel insurance, so to go ahead and snowmobile anyway was not exactly a wise idea.
In countries where tourism is more prevalent (such as Norway and Sweden) to drive a snowmobile you must show evidence of a valid drivers license and evidence that you have insurance, however in Greenland, things are far less strict and far less regulated.
All I had to do was watch a 4-minute safety video, pay the moolah and I was deemed ready to go snowmobiling!
It is interesting to note that Sisimiut has more registered snowmobiles than any other town in Greenland – there is one registered for every 10 people! Riding a snowmobile isn’t technically difficult, but it does require some getting used to, and it is a lot more physically demanding than I had anticipated!
When traversing across uneven terrain (namely steep mountain slopes) the snowmobile does run the risk of becoming unbalanced and toppling over, so when the snowmobile starts to tilt one way, you gotta heave your entire body weight to the opposite side in order to keep balanced. That may not sound hard, but sometimes it requires a lot of strength to do. My core muscles are rather weak (if they exist at all) and I was absolutely feeling the burn!
I set off to see the mountains surrounding Sisimiut – and despite the fact that I had gone exploring though the same hills and mountains the previous day via dog sled, I was able to see things completely differently when travelling on the snowmobile.
Firstly, snowmobiles have a greater capacity to travel long distances quickly than a pack of dogs do, and as such, meant that I was able to travel much further from town than I was while on a dogsled. An example of this, within only about 30 minutes of snowmobiling I made it to this stunning fjord – known by locals as the ‘first fjord’ – whereas I had made it nowhere near this spot while travelling via dog sled.
Once I was done marvelling at the first fjord (pictures just do not do it justice, believe me) it was time to head down the mountain and actually cross over this frozen lake!
I was rather nervous at first. I kept imagining the ice all cracking like it would in an action film and me being plunged into the icy cold water! But as it turned out, I had nothing to worry about – the ice was nice and solid – and I certainly wasn’t the first snowmobiler to have crossed over it on this day.
As I was snowmobiling on a weekend, it was unsurprising that it was a pretty uncommon event for other snowmobiles to whiz past me; there was a lot of families who had little sleds attached to the back of their vehicles and their children piled on for a bit of weekend fun!
After speeding over the lake as fast as I could, I spent a little while searching the area for Arctic wildlife (reindeer, musk ox, arctic hares) but after having no luck, decided to head back towards the mountains and see how high up I could get.
As it turned out, that was pretty damn high – I mean, just check out these views!
All too soon my time with the snowmobile started drawing to a close, so I began to pack up my gear in preparation for the drive back to Sisimiut. Then, just as I was about to pack my camera away, the sun finally shone through the clouds for just long enough for me to get one truly awesome picture.
Getting to Sisimiut: Sisimiut airport has no international connections, but Air Greenland has domestic connections with Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk and Ilulissat
Getting out of the Airport: Taxi is the way to go here, there is no public transport servicing the airport
Sisimiut Hotel: A modern hotel and a good base for organising tours around the region
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens and M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2/8 lens
Snowmobile Trips: Run by locals – organise these trips through Hotel Sisimiut
Remember: If you plan on snowmobiling, make sure you pay extra for winter sports cover on your travel insurance!