Have you tried the emotion of driving a snowmobile? If you are among the few that have had the chance to try, you already know what I mean, and above all, you know very well that no description precise and detailed, can pass the emotion that you feel, especially if you do it in the wild nature and not on the prepared runs.
If you’re among the many who have never tried … I will try to tell you what it feels like.
We are in Levi, a small town in northern Finland over Arctic Circle.
It is a very popular area for winter sports, although virtually unknown in Italy.
If you are lucky enough to arrive here in the winter, I recommend you don’t stop in Rovaniemi, as beautiful and fascinating, especially because of the highly popular Santa Claus’s Village, but to continue to Levi.
We have arrived in February, a good time, even though the temperature is -30 ° C.
We ferried with Viking Line from Stockholm to Turku and arrive at sunrise in the sea ice is a truly unique experience.
The cold here is really impossible, but you don’t to worry about it too much, you bring with you the warm clothes that you have and here… they will be like a swimsuit!
There are no clothes in our country fit for this cold. But lucky the Finns are well organized to help us .
Through the area to the north of Finland, we realize immediately how snowmobiles are leased everywhere and you’ll often you see them crossing the way, coming out of the forest and heading for the frozen lake on the opposite side of where they go to full speed. Wonderful!
Frozen lake on which it is normal to see one or two people sitting there to fish after they’re done with the hand-auger hole in a thick ice. I do not know how they manage to stay so for hours!
The “cars” that you also see in the streets are various.
And even casual encounters: fascinating.
However, we have chosen the snowmobile and we decided to rent it from Perhesafarit.
Immediately the girl who welcomes us estimate our size and accompanies us in the room of clothing. Here we are given a set of clothing and we are told how to wear them. Yes .. also serves this lesson!
First of all … You’ll have to keep on all the clothes you already have, except for the anoraks.
Over your socks, you wear their very warm wool and later boots that are waterproof and all furry inside and will help to keep the heat on his feet. And then the turn of a super-padded waterproof overalls spectacular that will make you sweat immediately …
But remember that in a little time, sweat is a feeling that you feel like you belong to another life!
They will give you a balaclava also it obviously very hot and you after having understood the technique to wear it and make sure they do not pass drafts in the neck, you are going to wear a helmet.
Remenber: the glass of the helmet must always be raised when you stop, otherwise the breath creates condensation that fogs up the helmet and not be able to see anything.
All clear anyway … It’s what you do with the mask to the sea when, as we all know, a little spit avoids the problem! The Finns watching us a bit confused at this statement, clearly they are not know well this mode!
It is time to go outside, because, well dressed, you can not resist in this room so heated!
They asked us if we have already driven a snowmobile and at the question we answer hesitant “no”, trying to prevent problems.
But no! There isn’t problem. They make a photocopy of driver’s license and no more than ten minutes, they explain how drive the snowmobile.
The rules are few and clear: the thumb on the maneuvering lever heated to accelerate, letting get off the lever you brake, there is also add brake but never forget to be on the ice. The feet are in the spaces provided, also heated, and you must bend in the curve accompanying the tilt.
Very very important recommendation is the proper safety distance (which means huge!) that must be taken by snowmobile ahead you. If there is a downhill, you will not stop and crashs with other snowmobile. This is the only real rule to follow!
The passenger must simply hold on to the handles.
They given us a – yes, of the region, not of the area! – where to find the runways, green and red. The greens are easy ones and the difficult ones are in red color and it’s better to evitate for the first time, but if we feel safe and we want to try, there are no problems. The fuel stations are indicate with a cross if we need it and they tell us that we can stay out as late as we want! A good and fun way!
We are very confused by the easiness with they give us a snowmobiles.
They don’t asked a credit card, they don’t have any documents in their hand (only a photocopy) and they explained to us all in ten minutes. The very best way to rental snowmobile… which unfortunately would impossible in Italy!
The first 15 minutes I have to admit that is a bit difficult because although there are several days that I drive a car in this snow and ice but the snowmobile is the most unusual I’ve ever driven and fully different from any other that I tried.
The slightest uphill or downhill seems insurmountable and I see others snowmobile rushing into the runways or out, in the open countryside. I envy them because I can barely move.
I don’t tell you the panic when I arrive in front of the bridge reserved for snowmobiles that overcomes the main road.
In fact, just half an hour to get used to it and start driving in a more natural and relaxed. In less than an hour it feels well to drive and the fun begins to be worthy of the expectations.
As soon as a stretch a bit more open is beautiful to go fastest, even if things to watch out are so many. For example, the sign of the cross with cross-country skiing there are numerous. Or the directional signs at intersections, because is very uncomfortable to having a stop in this cold to read the map with boxing gloves.
Forget you to take off the gloves in -30° C. And even when you stop … you realize that you have to move immediately to not be freezing.
The cold is really hard to bear for us, but when you get in a straight line and go speed with your snowmobile … you do not remember the cold!
Comes the sunset and then dark. Luckily we had planned to stay only a few hours away! The hours spent are many more than expected and Valeria, in the back seat, I think it is already in an advanced state of freezing, since I do not hear talk anymore!
I stop for a moment to ask her if wants to go back for the cold and she tells me in response: “While you’re stopped, now I test and drive the snowmobile. There’s nobody to see me! “
When we start again, around a bend, opens before us a frozen lake. In the lake met before I tried to imitate those who left the runways and I headed at full speed to the areas of untouched snow … The result was disastrous.
In fact, I’ve tried just got my license, to go in the F1 circuit during a world’s race. The only result I got was to plant the snowmobile at less 50 cm away from the runways and turn it over on its side in a vain attempt to extract, as well as to create a hole in the snow where it seemed impossible to get out.
A few minutes of total panic in which the treasure of my husband yelled behind all his love and something more for not having paid attention when, with the caution that continually (and fortunately!) distinguishes him, kept telling me that I hadn’t leave the marked trail, and … I do not know which way to maneuver or what saint in heaven, I’m back on runways!
But let us return to our huge frozen lake in what is now the Arctic night. The glare of the snow illuminates the nature. No one around except the lights of some remote village kilometers away. I slow down, I lift the visor and I scream to Valeria behind to hold on tight now that we have fun.
Once more capable, in the night, everything is easier, skiers walk there are not any more, and if any snowmobile comes in the opposite direction, the lighthouse (required on continuously day and night) denotes its presence when it is still far away.
Valeria reminds me back a scream of joy as a response.
We overcome my husband and we launch all possible speed our snowmobile on the surface of the frozen lake in this very cold arctic night. The exhilaration feels is indescribable, and no post and no pictures can never give you the idea properly. It’s a really unique and wonderful feeling. I never thought so adrenaline.
At the end of the lake we stopped to wait my husband that very calmly joins us. He is conscious of having married a crazy person! For him to go to a normal speed permit to enjoy the landscape.
I turn from Valeria to see what the situation is: the cold now it’s really impossible and to sit as a passenger is worse because there aren’t heating spaces.
Considering that I do not feel my feet by cold, I can not imagine how cold she has. His answer is peremptory. Screaming like crazy, still in the throes of adrenaline rush that just he tried, he raises his visor and in night his voice is loudly: “Mammaaaaaaa! I’ve never had so much fun in my life!!!
And I assure you that today is certainly not the only one!!!