Arctic Circle Fat Bike Expedition

Cycle across an Arctic plateau alongside a team of huskies, sleep in remote huts and relax in saunas

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Trip Ref #10058

Arctic Circle Fat Bike Expedition

Cycle across an Arctic plateau alongside a team of huskies, sleep in remote huts and relax in saunas

DURATION

5 nights

LOCATION

Norway

ANNUAL LEAVE

3 days off work

SEASON

Apr, May

GROUP SIZE

Up to 10 people

MEETING POINT

Alta Airport, Norway

ACCOMMODATION

Comfort

Glamping · Mountain hut

OVERALL RATING

4.6

Based on 8 reviews
DIFFICULTY

Challenging

This trip is for cyclists of good fitness who are used to riding back to back days and up for trying something new.

Cruise through remote snow trails and enjoy the freedom of riding a fat bike across the Finnmarksvidda mountain plateau within the Arctic Circle

Travel with a team of huskies to carry your luggage and tuck in to fresh, locally sourced food throughout

Share the snow-blanketed plateau with migrating herds of reindeer and the indigenous Sami people

Snooze under the northern lights in a cosy Aurora Canvas Dome, bunk down in traditional mountain huts and unwind with a post-ride sauna

Day 1

Welcome to the Arctic Circle

Head for the remote coastal town of Alta on the inner reaches of the Altafjord in Norway's most northern county. Settle into the unique Aurora Canvas Dome and meet the rest of the group for dinner where you'll hear more about the expedition ahead. Expect a feast of local delicacies, ranging from fresh cod, to moose and a variety of seasonal food.

Day 2

Expedition Planning

Cycling

15km · 100m up · 50m down

You'll head into town for a look around and a chance to grab any extra snacks and bits of equipment before returning in time for a log fire lunch. Next, get fitted out with your trusty steed (read: Fat Bike) which will power you through the Arctic Circle over the next few days. Once you and your bike are a match, head out for a test ride. You'll then get prepared for the expedition ahead - work through the final points with your guide, including a weather update, plotting the best route and learning about cycling in the snow, before meeting your husky team. When you’re ready, head back to the Aurora Canvas Dome for a final night before the big day tomorrow.

Day 3

The Finnmarksvidda Plateau

Cycling

25km · 100m up · 100m down

You arrive at Souusjavri Fjellstue after a 150 km drive from Alta. Here you'll be served lunch before heading out for 25 km of snow adventure starting the crossing of the Finnmarksvidda Plateau. After arriving at the mountain lodge in Mollisjok Fjellstue, you can indulge in a hot Sauna before dinner: a welcome relief after your first day on the expedition.

Day 4

Rolling through snow

Cycling

30km · 100m up · 300m down

Cross the frozen Lake Lesjavri - the largest in Finnmark - on a bicycle! Keep your eyes peeled for herds of reindeer; Finnmarksvidda is where indigenous Sami people raise their herds. Reindeer start to migrate northwards in Spring and the calving season takes place during this journey, generally in late April and early May. After arriving at Jotka Fjellstue you can again enjoy a hot sauna before dinner.

Day 5

Push to the finish line

Cycling

40km · 100m up · 300m down

Follow snowy tracks, passing remote settlements, Sami villages and cabins. Stop in a scenic spot for your packed lunch. Arrive back in Alta during the late afternoon, where you'll have time for another sauna and a celebratory glass of wine with your teammates before one last night in your cosy dome, hopefully catching the end of the aurora season/spectacle.

Day 6

Optional dogsledding and then home

Relax in the morning or meet your dogs if you've booked the dog-sledding experience and head off on a speedy adventure through the snow-covered pines. This is an extremely peaceful experience, with the silence only disturbed by the sound of paws in the snow and some energetic panting. Take a last wander around Alta and then head back to the airport in time for your flight home.

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking guides and a bike mechanic

Accommodation

3 nights in the Aurora Canvas Dome and 2 nights in mountain lodges

Meals

Munch on tasty food throughout

Transfers

To and from the start point and everything in-between

Permits

All permits and entry fees

Equipment

Nakamura Big Bob 6.0 fat bikes, cycle helmets, winter overshoes, huskies and sleds

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Visas where required

Day 1

Glamping · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Glamping · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 4

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Glamping · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

On the trip you'll be eating mainly local food ranging from salmon and moose to an array of vegetable dishes. On Days 4 and 5 you'll pick from a selection of food in the morning to put together your own packed lunch. Due to the highly remote location of the huts which are located a long way from roads or shops, much of the food is self-caught game and fish, so it can be challenging to cater for alternative dietary needs on this trip: especially vegan diets. Get in touch with our team to discuss any requirements.

What is the accommodation like?

Alta

You’ll stay in the Aurora Canvas Domes. These are purpose-built aluminium and canvas domes with under-floor heating and a wood-burning stove to get you as close to nature as possible. You can even open the roof – perfect for Aurora watching. All electricity is 100% renewable and drawn from hydro-electrical power produced by the nearby Alta River.

On the expedition

You’ll stay in traditional lodging houses that offer basic accommodation in cabins and dormitories with 2-6 bunks, mixed share. Lodges have permanent hosts and all meals are served in the shared dining room. Dormitories are equipped with bunks, mattresses and pillows and each hut has its own sauna.

Upgrades

Due to the nature of this trip and restricted space, there are no options to upgrade to a private room.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Alta Airport

Any time on Day 1

Ends

Alta Airport

Any time on Day 6

Transfers

Transfers are included from Alta Airport or your hotel in Alta (if you have arrived a day early) any time on Day 1. It is only a 15 minute drive from the airport to the base where you'll spend your first night. If possible we recommend arriving by late afternoon so you can enjoy dinner with the group.

At the end of your trip, you will be transferred back to the airport any time on Day 6, but if you are doing the optional dog sledding experience we recommend not booking a flight until the afternoon as this runs from 10:00 - 12:30.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Alta from major airports across the UK and Europe.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?

What is provided

  • Winter overshoes to fit all sizes

Bags

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack for the husky sled
  • Waterproof liner/drybags for duffel bag/rucksack
  • Daypack (25-30 litres, with space for a down jacket, packed lunch and thermos flask)

Clothes

  • Thermal bottoms and top (merino is best)
  • Thin fleece
  • Thin windproof jacket
  • Waterproof/Gore-Tex jacket with hood (for over your windproof jacket)
  • Insulated gilet (optional)
  • Down jacket
  • Thin windproof trousers, possibly cycling trousers for winter use
  • Cycling shorts with padding (optional - for under your thermal bottoms)
  • Waterproof/Gore-Tex overtrousers, preferably with braces
  • Thin hat (to fit under your helmet)
  • Thick hat (for when not wearing a helmet)
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Insulated wind and waterproof mountain over mittens
  • Winter MTB shoes (Neos overshoes will be provided, the bike comes with flat pedals or SPDs so ensure your shoes fit your preference)
  • 2 pairs of thin wool socks
  • 2 pairs of thicker wool over socks
  • Underwear
  • Something to sleep in
  • Swimwear for sauna

Other

  • Cycle Helmet (either bring your own or one will be provided)
  • Thermos flask (1 litre)
  • Reusable water bottle (that won't freeze)
  • Sleeping bag (for the cabins - bring your own or hire locally)
  • Slippers (for cottage life)
  • Sunglasses
  • Padlock for left luggage
  • Universal travel adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passport
  • Earplugs
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry it out)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Headtorch or torch

Dog-sledding activity (min. 4 people): Price From...

Payable Before Departure

Dog-sledding activity (min. 4 people): Price From...

Per Person

- Zoe Hawkins(April 2022)

Fab experience and we had a great local host who was full of positivity, despite us being stuck in a blizzard! It is seriously difficult trip and you need to be fit to enjoy it, as well as embracing the simple accommodation aspects. If have these, it’ll be an adventure of a lifetime!

- Anne(April 2022)

The trip was amazing! The location and route is breathtaking. Everything was well organised and the food was incredible. Do note that you need to have some mountain biking experience to truly enjoy the trip. There is always the option for ski mobile rescue if needed at additional cost. We were very lucky with the weather, the lodges along the way were an adventure. And the domes at Glod were fantastic. Ending each day with a sauna, what can one ask for more. The group was great. All in all a fab experience. I also highly recommend to add the dog sledding at the end of your trip.

- Claire Bailey(April 2022)

Excellent trip and location. Our local guide was exceptional and coped with many different needs of the group. Snow domes we’re amazing. All the food was excellent and all staff so helpful You need a lot of kit for this trip which adds to the cost but worth it to be so remote. Don’t underestimate the weather that far north……the cycle could be anything from a level 3 to 6 depending on wind/ snow conditions and this could mean you do not complete the exact itinerary. However our guide had good bad weather day options and also snow mobile rescue if needed at own client expense. Personally 10/10 for me! You need to be a competent mountain biker used to 30km rides with a small back back to cope well. Most essential piece of kit - good gloves and mittens, hat and thermal leg warmers made life great!

- Andy Smith(April 2022)

A truly unforgettable experience. The team were brilliant, and the whole trip exceeded expectations. Obviously conditions can be very variable and there were some 'Arctic' moments, but there were also moments of peace and tranquility we rarely get to experience in modern life. Standing outside at 2am at -11C watching the Northern Lights was unbelievable. The cycling was tough at times, but manageable for someone of decent fitness with a bit of experience on an MTB on soft ground. Amazing, amazing trip!

- Cathy(April 2022)

This trip is amazing but you really need to be of a good level.of fitness to complete it. Trigve will send a kit list video - take this very literally. The weather is very changeable & its wise to be prepared. It's very cold - even while cycling.

- Ally(April 2022)

This was an incredible trip! I had ZERO mountain bike experience and still loved every second. We had a mixture of weather, a couple of lovely days and a proper Arctic conditions day which although made things tough, really added to the experience, so i'm glad we had this day! You do need a strong level of fitness to get the most out of it, but I wouldn't say you need to have mountain biking skills as such - just a positive attitude and desire to gain new skills and get stuck in. Our guide was fantastic, as were the whole team. The mountain huts, although simple, were clean, warm and comfortable. As a vegetarian, I was harder to cater for in the huts but the hosts went above and beyond to ensure I ate well. The food at 'base camp' in the domes was incredible! Be prepared that you are in the Arctic Circle so the itinerary might not always go to plan, but the team will adapt as required to ensure you get the most out of the trip!

- Tom(April 2022)

Really enjoyed the trip the team were great. It be was challenging and exhilarating the views were amazing.

- Karen(April 2022)

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We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 76kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Fat bikes have extra fat, knobbly tyres that are designed for riding on soft surfaces like sand and snow and little or no suspension. The super-fat tyres distribute the rider’s mass across a larger area, so you don’t sink in and gain more traction than you would with a standard tyre size. You can ride easily and with stability even over firm snow and ice.

You’ill be riding Nakamura Big Bob 6.0 fat bikes. These are light and easy-to-ride, with an aluminium frame and Sram XX1 specs. If you would like to bring your own saddle or pedals these can be fitted for you.

This trip is suitable for cyclists of a good fitness who are used to riding over back to back days and up for trying something new. Some mountain biking experience would be advantageous although is not essential as long as you have good fitness. Although the distances aren't huge and most of it is flat, the going can be tough due to the snowy/rugged terrain and potential weather conditions. Progress in these conditions can be slow going (around six kilometres per hour) and so it can take a few hours to cover even short distances. A reasonable level of stamina is therefore needed. For the most part, you’ll be following snowmobile tracks on packed snow, which is very rideable but can be hard going.

Cold toes are an understandable concern when riding in the Arctic. Your host suggests you bring insulated winter MTB shoes that contain enough space to layer a couple of pairs of thick socks inside. You can choose whether you have flat pedals or SPDs so of course bring the correct shoes to match your preference here. You will be provided with flexible Neo overshoes for an extra layer of warmth also.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Spring on the plateau, although fairly cold, is usually sunny and bright. It is likely to stay around 0 degrees in the daytime and get a little colder at night. Although fresh snow and rain are unlikely at this time of the year, there is still a chance that you may get a little of both.

The trip runs in Spring as the snow is densely packed - perfect for fat bikes - with little chance of fresh snow to hinder progress. There is a small window before it warms up, however, our host has been running this expedition for a long time so the window is well-considered!

Sure - you can leave any excess kit you don't want to take with your on the Fat Biking at your accomodation in Alta.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

For current advice about travelling in Norway, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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