Tick off on your bucket list with Arctic Survival Tours
By Celina Tran | Photos: Arctic Survival Tours
Founded in 2023, Tromsø-based Arctic Survival Tours offers a unique winter experience. A once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the company provides a safe, therapeutic and comfortable opportunity to swim in the Arctic Ocean in the winter.
While most people have bucket lists or things they wish to experience in life, some experiences might simply seem too unrealistic to even try. While you’re probably not flying to space or biking through all the continents anytime soon, Arctic Survival Tours has now made it possible to swim underneath the northern lights in the subfreezing Arctic Sea, but comfortably.
Ingvar Ursfjord, owner, founder and chief executive at Arctic Survival Tours, founded the company along with his good friend Terje in 2023. The aim was to create a new, alternative activity for Tromsø’s Arctic tourism industry.
“Terje has been working in the maritime safety industry for years and pitched the idea of giving tourists in Tromsø a new activity, an addition to the pre-existing ones. Initially, we wanted to come up with something more adrenaline-filled where guests could also enjoy the beautiful, natural surroundings. Gradually, we narrowed it down to what has become floating in the Arctic Ocean wearing immersion rescue suits,” says Ursfjord.
He adds that the beauty of the floating experience is its flexibility, allowing guests to decide whether they want to enjoy it as an action-filled activity or a form of therapeutic relaxation in natural surroundings.
“The immersion rescue suits allow you to be comfortable and cosy in the water, despite the freezing temperatures, and you can stay in the water for long periods. It means that people of all backgrounds and ages, regardless of their wants, can enjoy the activity and surroundings at their own pace.”
A modern, fun Viking experience
Floaters arrive at the Arctic Floating Camp, a short drive from Tromsø, where they are welcomed with a sizzling campfire. Here, they’ll get to have a go at being a North Norwegian Viking. But don’t worry, you’ll get a run-down before you get in the water, Ursfjord assures us. After that, it’s up to you what you want to make out of it.
“My favourite thing is seeing and hearing floaters laugh as they jump in the water and splash around,” says Ursfjord.
Though splashing around sure is fun, Ursfjord notes that there’s something particularly magical about floating underneath the Arctic, starry night sky. If you’re lucky, you’ll also catch the beautiful northern lights dancing above as you lay there.
“Many say floating almost makes them feel weightless, describing it as a relaxing and healing experience.”
After the float, guests can seek refuge from the cold inside the camps, where they’ll be able to enjoy a hot drink and some snacks, while the guides tell the history of the surroundings.
“And if you’re feeling brave, you can even go ice bathing without the immersion suit,” adds Ursfjord. “Though I must note that you’ll be swimming in -20 in the Arctic Ocean.”
A safe, comfortable activity for anyone and everyone
At Arctic Survival Tours, the safety of guests is the top priority. While the activity is a safe one, the team regularly tests the suits to ensure that they work as they’re required to, and all guides are trained to make the activity safe. All are trained by their team helicopter rescue officer.
“That being said, floating is not a dangerous or even difficult activity,” says Ursfjord. “There’s a misconception that this is an adrenaline-inducing activity that can only be enjoyed by the brave or active, but that’s not true. While it can be action-filled, floating is for everyone.”
“I really recommend it. We’ve had guests of all ages, from 12 to 70, from all across the world come. It’s truly amazing that they all get to leave with their own unique experience.”
Offering a truly unique experience and a high service level is, at the core of the new venture, and while anyone can join a floating session, the company also offers private floating trips for groups, making it the perfect activity for corporate team-building, bachelor or bachelorettes events, or, indeed, anyone looking to immerse themselves in the beautiful Arctic nature.
Testimonial by Kunal Patil
Arctic Euphoria: A captivating morning afloat in Tromsø with Arctic Survival Tours
Guided by the expert Ingvar, the morning Arctic float surpassed expectations. The pristine waters embraced by mountains and icebergs created a surreal experience. The rhythmic melody of gentle waves complemented the stillness of the Arctic morning. This adventure fostered a profound connection with nature, emphasising the urgency of preservation. I wholeheartedly recommend this unique and unforgettable encounter with the Arctic’s wonders. From the cold crispy morning to the stunning beauty, every facet surpassed expectations, leaving me with profound appreciation. An invitation to transcend the ordinary and unveil the extraordinary in Tromsø’s Arctic embrace.
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