But what if the reality is slightly different? What if I'm not so much 007 as Mr Bean? Just how sensitive is the throttle and what if I fly over the handlebars or hit a tree? Sitting astride a gleaming new 900cc, €14,000 Lynx snowmobile, the insurance excess flickers through my mind as our guide carefully explains the safety procedures and what to watch out for: Tree!! Moose!! Reindeer!!...
But it's OK I tell myself; I can negotiate the M25 in rush hour traffic, after all, so I'm clearly hardened to adventure sports already. Just how hard can it be? Aware I'll never live it down back at the office if anything happens to that machine, I gingerly edge forward and discover... It's actually easy!
Our guide leads us at a safe stopping distance through the narrow forest trails, stopping safely at crossings in the trails and special flags designed to give us warnings of oncoming cross-country skiers and snowshoeing locals trekking through the pure-white wilderness. Fortunately, Moose and Reindeer are nowhere to be seen. We park up near the Reindeer farm and after a short, genteel sleigh ride take a pit-stop for some much needed Salmon soup before heading back on the trails on our snowmobiles.
Our guide is clearly impressed by our skilful manoeuvring and stops us at the lakes' edge to flip a switch on our snowmobiles: We've earned our stripes and are rewarded with extra horsepower to take laps around the lake. "Watch out for water on the surface," he says. “If you hit it, increase the throttle and keep going..." Well, I hadn't planned on literally walking on water, so decided to power up and use the opportunity for all it was worth.
Speeding across a huge expanse of frozen water in the perfect arctic sunshine at 100kmph was the fulfilment of a boyhood fantasy I'll never forget. I couldn't wait to repeat it later on a night-time Aurora hunt with the trees leaping out of the darkness like SPECTRE henchmen: move over Daniel Craig!
Image Credits: Antti Pietikainen