Winter isn’t just important for Sorrisniva, one of the activity companies here in Alta. In a way, it’s a necessity.
The history of the company is long. Sorrisniva is a family business originally built around fishing in the Alta River for salmon. The river is regarded as one of the premier fly-fishing spots in the world, and it has been on the “must” list for royalty and the well-to-do for centuries. As the years passed and the family generations changed, the company expanded its focus to include other activities in both summer and winter.
Today, travelers probably know Sorrisniva best as the home of the Igloo Hotel. Every winter starting in 2000, the Igloo Hotel has been built completely from scratch using local ice and snow. From the outside, it resembles a well-crafted hump, and more than once when I have brought groups of cruise passengers to see it, I saw an “are you KIDDING ME” look on visitors’ faces.
But inside, it’s a completely different story. The plain outside houses a fairyland inside, with glowing sculptures of ice and carvings right in the walls of the hotel. Whales and Viking kings, Sami with reindeer, ornate Viking decorations that look woven into the wall… all of it almost comes to life in the frozen air. Every year, the decorations (crafted by local artists) follow a new theme like old Norwegian tales or the regional nature.
These are, of course, pictures from previous years because the construction is just beginning for this year’s version. And even if it were ready now, I wouldn’t give away the secret. You’ll have to go out there and see it for yourself once it is ready, which the crew at Sorrisniva is hoping to be (and planning for) the 15th of December this year.
The Igloo Hotel isn’t just there to look at; it’s a functional and popular hotel as well. This year’s version should have at least 30 regular rooms and 4 suites, all of them providing an exciting way to get a good night’s sleep. Yes, you really will be warm at night. Most of the reports I’ve heard suggest that people OVERdress and end up having to cool off a little.
Along with the Igloo Hotel, Sorrisniva is bringing back familiar activities from prior years. They will offer snowmobiling tours in the morning and afternoon, and the Laksestua Restaurant will once again feature the delightful cuisine of Johnny Trasti from Trasti & Trine. But this year, new things are on the way!
The company will offer Sami and reindeer adventures with help from the people who run the Boazo Sami Siida. Both morning and evening versions will be offered, and the evening tour gives visitors a chance to see the Northern Lights (the links here lead you to North Adventure’s tour descriptions if you’d like more info).
Three other new tours will take advantage of nighttime hours to hopefully provide a look at the aurora. Sorrisniva will offer a “regular” Northern Lights hunt with minivan and guide for up to seven guests at a time. Travelers who prefer an emphasis on food can opt for a dinner-and-northern-lights package, which includes a visit to the Igloo Hotel, a delicious dinner in Laksestua, and a walk after dinner out and onto the nearby frozen Alta River. And for hardy souls who want to meet the arctic head-on, there’s an overnight outing onto the Finnmarksvidda mountain plateau. Guests on this tour will drive snowmobiles out to a remote campsite; no glamour, just the splendor of the raw arctic wilderness!
If you’re coming in to Alta this winter, make sure your plans include activities at Sorrisniva! For more information directly from the company, visit their web site here.