Snowmobiling in Norway Posted by on Dec 14, 2010 in Culture, Nature

I am embarassed to say that as a born and raised Minnesotan, I have never ridden a snyscooter (snowmobile, as they say in northern Norway, otherwise snøskooter or snøskuter elsewhere in the country) in Minnesota.  Many of my friends and acquaintances own snyscooterer and spend a significant amount of time on them during the winter, especially after heavy snowfall.  I think I saw more snyscooterer driving today than I ever have!  We here in south central Minnesota got between 10 and 20 inches of snow yesterday, so snyscooter kjørere (drivers) hit the jackpot!


I have driven a snycooter once in my life and it was on a ski trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  I had a blast whipping around in the open meadows and on the narrow trails in the forest.  My hope was to be in Norway this winter and kjøre scooter up north where I recently resided.  I have a lot of friends in northern Norway who own a snyscooter and promised me exciting adventures.  I will definitely take them up on it someday.

Many Norwegians who own a snyscooter are frustrated with the law.  It is only legal to kjøre snyscooter on marked trails.  This seems like a reasonable law, until you find out that people who own hundreds of acres in the rural mountains can’t even legally ride in their area.  It is purely for environmental purposes that the laws are so strict.  What I find ridiculous though is that if there are feet of snow piled up on the ground, you will not be able to see any evidence that there even was a snyscooter there after the snow melts.  My friend knows someone who got fined thousands of dollars because he unlawfully drove his snyscooter on unmarked territory (keep in mind, basically in the middle of nowhere…).


Despite all of this, there are many snyscooter tour companies in Norway (and Sweden and Finland) that can give you an incredible experience.  A very well known area for snyscooter riding is the  Lyngen Alps, about an hour east of Tromso.  One such company is called Svensby Tursenter, which is located at the bottom of the Lyngen Alps.  Another option is the Alta Friluftspark, where you have several choices of routes.  You can even be out for a couple of days and stay in traditional Sami tents in the mountains or stay in the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta.  See here for more information on this trip.  There are many more options, but for the brave and well, wealthy or good savers, you can start your 8-day trip in Finland and ride to Norway, where you will travel 900 km through all of Finnish Lappland into the Norwegian arctic.  You will drive throug snow-covered forest, across vast frozen lakes and lots of snow.  See here for more information about this trip.

The best part about taking these trips is that they don’t just involve riding a snyscooter.  While that is of course the main focus, the guides also make sure to incorporate other facets of Norwegian culture into the trips.  You will eat unique food, stay in unique places, hopefully see the northern lights, and maybe even a reindeer farm!

I really hope I make it to Norway in the winter soon so I can kjøre snyscooter!!

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Cameron Lowell Palmer:

    I really appreciate the ban of snowmobiles in Norway and I live in Oslo. Personal recreation vehicles like snowmobiles are an environmental terror, pedestrian terror, and while you can imagine scenarios that make the law sound ridiculous, you have no business being on a snowmobile unless you are performing specific jobs. Try doing something that requires actual physical exertion, like skiing and incidentally doesn’t wreck the environment.

  2. Fredrik:

    I disagree to some extent. When living in the rural areas it’s very common to have a vecation cabin. These are often located far in to the mountains. To travel to these in winter time you would use several hours to get there, but with a snowmobile you can use a half hour. Yes, you can get a permit, but as I have understood it they are also very strict with giving these out. Most people who drives a snowmobile drives on bare snow, not bushes and trees.

  3. Bob:


    You are a city boy, no wonder you dont ride one.

    Your countries economy is based on the export of fossil fuels and the killing of whales.

    There are no pedestrians on private land.

    The snow melts.

    It would be much worse for your economy if we didn’t burn fossil fuels to have harmless fun 🙂

    Now i have to get back to work designing oil drills to drill for shale gas and other fossil fuels.

    Stavanger, Norway.

  4. Chris:

    I am from Utah and enjoy snowmobiling. I am very lucky to have several canyons and mountains – as well as, trails and meadows to ride on. One day I would like to go to Europe to snowmobile – most likely Sweden or Finland. Norway seems like such a hassel. I hear they have a bunch of enviro-freaks there! Russia might also be a great place to snowmobile.