When I had the chance to take a bucket list trip to explore the pristine beauty of the Arctic Circle I jumped at the chance (after cobbling together frequent flier miles). First stop: the world famous IceHotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, where the walls, tables, beds, and everything else are made of ice and snow.

While spending a night on ice in 23° F degrees is a big part of the IceHotel’s draw, a thrilling daytime excursion by snowmobile (booked through the hotel) was the main event for me.

The IceHotel bills the trip as an “Arctic wildlife safari,” but I thought the name oversold the animal sightings and undersold the “vroom-vroom.” We did see an occasional lumbering moose and skittish reindeer, but the real highlight for me was the mountain scenery—and the excitement of skimming over frozen lakes at 50 miles an hour.

Adding to the thrill are the powerful winter winds, so strong they can erase the tracks made by another snowmobile just 20 yards ahead. It was a potent reminder that the Arctic’s otherworldly beauty can also be unforgiving.

For more photos and to learn more about her trip to the Arctic Circle, go here.

Felicia Patinkin is an ABC News Producer who lives in Brooklyn, NY, and enjoys getting off the beaten path every once in a while.