Tromsø – Ice Dome Experience

Tromsø – Ice Dome Experience

I woke up the following morning still trying to process the epic failure from the previous night. Everyone else in the group was also disappointed, but Faith surprisingly took it in stride – you can’t control nature. Thinking that we only have 2 more nights in Tromsø, and one of the nights is taken up by our ice dome stay, I suggested doing another light chasing tour on our last night. However, after seeing the low KP Index forecast, I had doubts and feared a repeat of last night. At the same time, I’d hate to be the one holding the group back. What if the lights did end up showing? Finally after much back and forth, we took a gamble and decided to throw good money after bad.

With that out of the way, we headed off for the Arctic Cathedral.

Built in 1965, the Arctic Cathedral is a Church of Norway of Lutheran denomination located across the bridge from the main part of town.
True to Scandinavian designs, lines are simple and decor kept to a minimum. Airy, yet cozy at the same time.

Back in town, the pursuit of a late lunch ensued.

A popular hot dog stand
Personally, I preferred the hotdogs back in Bergen.
Boot spikes come in handy while walking around town.

Five PM – time to board the bus for our 90-minute journey to the Ice Dome.

Once off the bus, we were welcomed into the warm and cozy lavvu, where we would have dinner and leave all our belongings overnight. This is also where the bathroom and shower facilities are located.

But before anything else, we were first led on an hour-long snow shoe hike.

Once everyone got outfitted in warm snow gear, we were off into the dark snowy night.
Our guide stopping every so often to talk about the area’s habitat.
Hot black current juice to warm us up mid-hike.

Back at the lavvu, a warm meal awaited us.

Tasty fiskesuppe (fish soup)
The reindeer meat with mash and lingonberry sauce was actually quite delicious. Not gamey like the one we had at the Sami tent.

Dinner was followed by a tour of the ice dome. This year’s ice dome was constructed over a period of 6 weeks (normally completed in 8 weeks, but this year’s snow came late) with the theme revolving around the Norwegian explorer – Roald Amundsen.

Central dome
Roald Amundsen behind the bar
Nonalcoholic black current juice served in ice shot glasses.
Sculpture of an ice breaker.
A walk through of the ice hotel

Eight ice sculpture artists were commissioned to sculpt murals in the eight hotel rooms.

Peggy and my room. As soon as I saw the arctic fox diving into snow going after the mouse, I knew I had to have this room.
Thankfully for sleeping bags designed for -16°C, a few of us had the best night’s sleep here through our entire trip. For me, it was a bit warm.
It was colder inside the hotel than it was outside.

A 7AM wake-up call, delivered by a towering Norwegian man, sent us scurrying to the central lavvu to freshen up. I was the only one out of the 16 guests who had showered the night before, so all I had to do was to brush my teeth and wash my face.

Ice dome exterior
We were then led to the nearby Camp Tamok for breakfast.
Camp Tamok lavuu

All guests had an option to do one of 3 activities after breakfast – dog sledding, reindeer sledding, and snow mobiling. Since we had already done the reindeer sledding at the Sami tent, I had signed us up for dog sledding prior to the trip. The last time Joe and I went dog sledding in Alaska, we were both seated with the guide as the musher, so I figured it would be an easy activity for my slightly athletically disinclined friends.


It wasn’t until during briefing when I found out that we would take turns mushing. Not only that, the guide said that the musher would have to run behind the sled during all the uphill sections, in deep snow. As soon as Peggy heard that, she sidled up to me and asked if I was able to do it. Trusting my years of endurance training, I reassured her that it was doable. However, I was worried about the other two. At the end of the briefing, an older couple voluntarily dropped out. But Faith and Munerah stuck with the plan, and they ultimately did well enough to survive the 7-8km journey.

Briefing given by an ex-MMA fighter from Greece.
Avalanche and Marthe were our lead dogs, which are chosen based on intelligence and ability to follow instructions. One of our other dogs was named Trump, and we just assumed it was the dullest of the lot.
For me, mushing is definitely more fun than just sitting in the sled. This work out well for Peggy and me. She was happy to stay seated throughout, and I enjoyed the extra cardio work out.
More reindeer meat for lunch after dog sledding.
Raw meat lunch for these Alaskan huskies.

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