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Matilda Fisk

Northern snowmobile mecka

“The snow comes early here, and there’s a fair distance between neighbours. We can fly around and make a noise day and night without disturbing anyone,” successful snocross racer Emil Harr offers as a possible explanation as to why so many people in Sorsele are into snowmobiling.

Today, although Emil races snowmobiles professionally and internationally, he still has strong ties to his home region and snowmobile friends in Sorsele and Buresjön. And he’s literally been snowmobiling since he was born.

“Already as a five-year-old, I started dreaming of competing. My dad competed, and so my brother and I followed in his footsteps. From age eight to ten, we flew around between the villages and could ride as much as we wanted. We had new, quality machines.”

At age eleven, Emil competed in his first Swedish Championship, finishing in the top five. He remembers that it gave him a real rush, bolstering his desire to ride and compete. Since then, he’s spent endless hours on snowmobiles and taken part in countless races. He considers his European Championship victory in Finland in 2019 his greatest achievement so far.

In early spring 2020, all his hard work paid off. At short notice, he was asked to travel to the US to compete, and after two races he was ranked fifth in his class, which is also the largest. Then came the coronavirus pandemic. Now, his focus is on maximising his training, both mentally and physically, in preparation for rushing off again when opportunity knocks.

What’s the secret of your success?

“For starters, riding is such a thrill. And success breeds success. I’ve always been driven to ride more after each race. Although initially we had to do everything ourselves. My brother and I have prepared the tracks, set up snow cannons and driven the snow groomer since we were in junior school. Over time, more people got involved and helped out, and that was also fun. Someone prepared lunch boxes for us while we were out on the tracks riding. All this has meant a lot, of course,” says Emil humbly.

Broad sport with cult status

We can call snowmobiling a broad sport, says Jörgen Öhrnell, the chair of Sorsele Snowmobile Club.

“Sure, there are all kinds of people who ride snowmobiles. Young, old, entire families, all kinds,” says Jörgen.

Sorsele Snowmobile Club is responsible for clearing and grooming a total of ninety kilometres of snowmobile trails in Sorsele Municipality and does so impeccably. The trails are well maintained, used extensively and every year increasingly more people pay the trail fee, which Jörgen appreciates. The money goes to fuel and other expenses to keep the trails in good shape.

Burkar cup. Photo: Matilda Fisk

Many people perhaps picture super-fast machines when they hear the word snowmobile, but for some, vintage snowmobiles are the attraction. Several of the hinterland snowmobile clubs have joined forces to arrange the veteran snowmobile competition Burkacupen every spring, and one of the legs of the event is always held in Sorsele.

“The vintage snowmobiles must be from 1985 or earlier, although in some classes models from as late as 1996 are allowed to compete. We have six classes in total, including drag racing, cross-county and hill climb, women’s and men’s,” Jörgen explains. “There are always many competitors and big crowds.”

There’s no doubt that snowmobiles play an important role in the Sorsele area – for excitement and adrenaline rushes as well as for work and socialising around as cult objects. Moving forward, we’re bound to hear about more snowmobile racers and competitions connected to Sorsele. The only question is, will they involve you?

Last edited: 06 March 2024