The world’s first organised crossing took place in April 2015 and generated coverage on terrengsykkel.no and in the local newspaper. That’s certainly not unexpected because it was a fantastic trip! Feel free to take a look at the photos here.
Three days of riding
The ride over the Finnmarksvidda mountain plateau is around 120 km, spread over three days of cycling. Day one and two we follow the snowmobile trail right across the mountain plain (Finnmarksvidda). Much of the trip follows the same route as the Finnmarksløpet sled dog race and the Offroadfinnmark mountain bike race. On the third day, we ride down to Alta Valley – absolutely brilliant on a fatbike – and end the trip at GLØD headquarters in Øvre Alta.
This route is not normally technically demanding, but it’s relatively challenging from a physical perspective. Graded on the Skill and Fitness scale, we describe this as a S3/F6 trip.
If you want to add some additional days, ex. some more biking in the trails the people in the “Capital og Fatbiking in Norway” are spending their free time in – in the Alta Valley, or other adventures to your stay – we can help you getting it organised!
The nights at The Canvas dome or the Pine Forest Apartment, Mollisjok and Jotka Mountain Lodge. If you want an extra night or two, we can arrange it for you. Ex. in the Aurora Canvas Dome.
Food and drink
A cold beer on arrival and a sauna each evening if you wish, traditional local food served with a glass of red wine and a good breakfast and lunch will ensure we are fresh and rearing to go when we embark on the next epic leg on our crossing of the Finnmarksvidda mountain plateau by fatbike! In general, meals from evening soup day one until lunch day four is included.
Unforgettable and tough adventure
The Finnmarksvidda is a gently rolling mountain plateau, which will be demanding for man and woman alike. Nevertheless, we predict that this will be an epic trip that we will remember for a long time – regardless of the weather!
We will be joined by polar dogs, which will pull safety equipment and the participants’ extra clothing by sledge.
Arrival and departure, mandatory meeting
A mandatory planning meeting will be held on the day one, at 3pm. The earliest possible departure is after 6pm on day four. If possible, we recommend departing on day five so you have time for a pleasant dinner after we return from the cycling trip.
Dates in 2019
NOK 11,000 per person
The tour price includes: transport, all meals, three nights’ accommodation, sauna, dog support, guide and banquet dinner. (Twin share)
If your group can’t make the dates fit – be in touch!
Have a look at this video to get an impression on how to dress while cycling in the cold.
Sleigh with device for pulling (GLØD)
Primus stove (GLØD)
Fatbike (rentable from GLØD)
Windproof hooded jacket
Mountain mittens (wool mittens with windproof cover)
Down filled jacket, if necessary thick woolen sweater/thick fleece
Long underpants and top
Long underpants and spare top
2 pairs of socks
2 pairs of woolen socks
Rucksack minimum 20-30 litres (rentable)
Sleeping bag for indoor use
Seating pad/Camping mat
Plate, cutlery for lunch
Thermos bottle, 1 litre
Bag for equipment not carried on your back
If you like carrying heavy loads you might consider
Slippers for cabin visit
Arrival in Alta
Pick up at the airport, check in at Aurora Canvas Dome
Info meeting when all participant are in Alta. Not any later tahn 7pm
Assemble your bike or adjustment of the rental bike
After breakfast, departure by mini bus up to Finnmarksvidda
Start biking in Jergul or Assebakthe
Arrival at Mollisjok Fjellstue in the afternoon
Sauna, dinner and overnight stay
Approx. 42 km
After breakfast we continue towards North. Today we are crossing Iesjavri, the largest lake in Finnmark
Lunch on route
Arrival at Jotka Fjellstue, Sauna, dinner and overnight stay
Approx. 30 km
A long day that will take us from Finnmarksvidda down to Alta valley.
Lunch and lunch fire on route.
Arrival at Glød HQ in the afternoon
The sauna will be warm
Approx. 48 km
Finnmarksvidda is Norway’s largest plateau, covering an of more than 22,000 km². Most of the plateau is 300-500 m above sea level, while Bidjovaggi in the southwest is around 700 m above sea level. Mountain birch forest and willow thicket grow in the lower areas of the gently rolling landscape, while bare plateau dominates above 350 m above sea level. The relatively flat landscape creates shallow fishing lakes and rivers with low slope.
It’s common to distinguish between the eastern and western parts of the plateau, and the highway between Alta and Kautokeino (the E45) forms an obvious boundary. Some also refer to the southern part of the plateau, the area south of the road between Kautokeino and Karasjok (route 92). The south-eastern part of the plateau close to the Finish border is protected by the Øvre Anarjohka National Park, while the south-western part of the plateau in Troms county is protected by Reisa National Park.
Every winter, the temperature on the Finnmarksvidda drops towards minus 40 °C and the official record low is minus 51.4 ºC. January and February are the coldest months but also in March it’s not uncommon that the temperature can drop towards minus 35 °C. Even in April, some nights can be as cold as minus 25 °C.
However, it’s worth noting that as the cold on the Finnmarksvidda is dry and not humid it does not feel so cold. Another advantage is that there is generally relatively little wind.
Read more about the weather on Finnmarksvidda on yr.no
Reindeer and the Sami
Finnmarksvidda is the place the indigenous Sami people engage in reindeer husbandry. As mentioned above, there is plenty of space on the plateau. During the wintertime, the reindeer husbandry mostly takes place in the southern part of the plateau towards the Finnish border and, to a certain degree, in the south-western part around Reisa National Park. The winter pastures of the reindeer are in these areas. The reindeer start to migrate northwards in April. Within a fortnight, a reindeer herd travels from the southern parts of the plateau to the summer grazing areas on the north coast. The calving season takes place during this journey, generally in late April and early May. The reindeer remain on the coast until August when they start the long migratory trek back to the winter pastures in the south.
If you are skiing across the Finnmarksvidda in April, you may be lucky enough to experience a herd of reindeer migrating to its summer pastures. The reindeer will generally be followed by Sami reindeer herders on snowmobiles accompanied by dogs to assist them. This is a majestic and unforgettable experience, but please exercise caution. Reindeer, especially females with calves, can be easily frightened. In the worst-case scenario, the mother can abandon her calf. As a skier, it’s wise to wait until the herd has passed before continuing. The reindeer herder will generally come over for a chat if he/she thinks you may get too close to the herd.
As you probably know, the Northern Lights originate from energy that is released when charged particles from the sun (solar storms) hits particles in the atmosphere, 80-500 km from us. The light that occurs is visible in the northern (and southern) parts of the globe. As the Finnmarksvidda is located directly below the Northern Lights Oval, it’s a wonderful place to see the Northern Lights, not least because there is virtually no light pollution at all. However, the sky must be clear and dark to see the Northern Lights, which generally means no later than mid-April. It then becomes too light in the evening/at night to see the Northern Lights and after a while is light 24/7.
Settlements on the plateau
Settlements are few and far between on the Finnmarksvidda. There are a few small settlements consisting of a few houses and cabins along the road, while Kautokeino and Karasjok are the two main villages. Both have populations of around 3,000. The Sami village of Masi, roughly midway between Alta and Kautokeino, has about 300 inhabitants.
The mountain lodges are traditional lodging houses offering basic accommodation in cabins and dormitories with 2-6 bunks. The mountain lodges were originally state-owned, but in recent times many have been transferred to private operators. They have permanent keepers (hosts) and are equipped with crockery, kitchenware and linen. Although the hosts are not obliged to serve meals, most provide meals and/or sell basic groceries such as canned foods, margarine, flour and bread. Meals and saunas must be booked in advance. The same goes for beds, especially during the peak seasons. All the mountain lodges have a telephone and are open year-round.
The mountain lodges in Finnmark were built in the late 19th century and at one stage there were 40 such mountain lodges in the county. There were also previously more basic state-owned wilderness huts (resting places), which were open. These were equipped with bunks, mattresses, pillows, cooking utensils and cutlery, but not provisions. The state no longer operates such huts and many of these have now burnt down or fallen into a state of disrepair.
Internet, phone coverage and electricity
All the mountain lodges have electricity so charging mobile phones and other electrical equipment is no problem. Jotka Fjellstue has good mobile coverage (even 4G) but there is no telephone coverage at Ravnastua and Mollisjok. There is mobile coverage on parts of the plateau, especially when you cross an elevation in the terrain.