Racing on snowmobiles across a frozen lake in the middle of the Arctic was exhilarating to the extreme. And like so many similar adrenaline rushes, it was also somewhat scary and I held on tightly, rather geekily fearful of falling off. The weather was perfect–sunny and -8C as we started out on our expedition with friends from the wedding. We were riding in pairs and I was behind Robert. Thanks to the reception the night before and dancing until 3.30 am, everyone was moving rather slow, so we started slowly on the snowmobiles to get used to their handling. Soon we were going up and down small hills, bouncing around over the ruts in the snow and leaning in the opposite direction of the turns to avoid toppling over. After three of us tumbled over in deep, fresh powder, we all had a better feel how to manipulate the ride.
After riding for about 1.5 hours, I think we were all happy to stop and have a break from the noise in the middle of a frozen, snow-covered lake. Our guides spread out reindeer skins for us to relax on and then began drilling small holes in the ice so we could fish. Fairly quickly, several of us caught perch–including me–and then things quieted down.
As the guides cooked reindeer and potatoes in a huge pot, we all relaxed, chatted and napped. The hearty home cooking (husmanskost) was delicious and just what we needed to warm up with in the cold before packing up and racing back across the snow and ice. Our return route
was hilly and bumpy and I thought that I was definitely going to fall off and be run over by one of our fellow snowmobilers. I think I heard Robert laugh at my screams, but I’m not sure about that. He did rather sensibly remark that we had to keep up with the rest of the group or we would get lost. It may be necessary, I remarked, but it is still scary.
Luckily, I am happy to tell you that we all survived. And it truly was a fantastic experience.