MEET THE NEW MASTER: Lars Fause, lead Troms/Finnmark prosecutor and former Svalbard lieutenant governor, to be new archipelago governor under new <em>Sysselmester</em> title as of July 1

MEET THE NEW MASTER: Lars Fause, lead Troms/Finnmark prosecutor and former Svalbard lieutenant governor, to be new archipelago governor under new Sysselmester title as of July 1

A decade after departing as Svalbard’s second highest-ranking official, Lars Fause is returning as Svalbard’s new governor – under the new gender-neutral Sysselmester title – as of July 1. More »

AVALANCHE ABOVE GJESTEHUSET 102: Snow stops short of evacuated guest lodge; Level Three avalanche risk for area through Tuesday

AVALANCHE ABOVE GJESTEHUSET 102: Snow stops short of evacuated guest lodge; Level Three avalanche risk for area through Tuesday

An avalanche directly above Gjestehuset 102 was triggered Sunday afternoon, but the snow did not reach any of the structures that have been evacuated since Friday, according to The Governor of Svalbard. More »

OK TO DRIVE IN NO-DRIVE ZONE: Governor temporarily lifts snowmobile ban on trail through Tverrdalen/Bolterdalen until midnight Monday for people returning to Longyearbyen

OK TO DRIVE IN NO-DRIVE ZONE: Governor temporarily lifts snowmobile ban on trail through Tverrdalen/Bolterdalen until midnight Monday for people returning to Longyearbyen

A ban on snowmobile traffic on a popular snow trail between Adventdalen and Reindalen, several kilometers southwest of Longyearbyen, is being lifted until midnight Monday so people returning to town can avoid More »

LARGE AVALANCHE ON HIORTHFJELLET: Snow covers snowmobile trail and near cabins across from Longyearbyen; nobody caught, but governor urging people to avoid area

LARGE AVALANCHE ON HIORTHFJELLET: Snow covers snowmobile trail and near cabins across from Longyearbyen; nobody caught, but governor urging people to avoid area

Photos by Dan Celius A large avalanche triggered on Hiorthfjellet, directly across the bay from Longyearbyen, was observed Saturday moring covering a popular snowmobile trail and nearing cabins that are frequently occupied More »

ANOTHER EVACUATION OF NYBYEN (AND THIS ONE MAY BE LENGTHY): Massive buildup of hanging snow means buildings near mountains must be vacated ‘until further notice’

ANOTHER EVACUATION OF NYBYEN (AND THIS ONE MAY BE LENGTHY): Massive buildup of hanging snow means buildings near mountains must be vacated ‘until further notice’

An evacuation of the mountainside buildings in Nybyen for a third straight weekend – and one whose length will be measured in weeks – has been ordered as of 6 p.m. Friday More »

 

MEET THE NEW MASTER: Lars Fause, lead Troms/Finnmark prosecutor and former Svalbard lieutenant governor, to be new archipelago governor under new Sysselmester title as of July 1

larspyramiden

A decade after departing as Svalbard’s second highest-ranking official, Lars Fause is returning as Svalbard’s new governor – under the new gender-neutral Sysselmester title – as of July 1.

AVALANCHE ABOVE GJESTEHUSET 102: Snow stops short of evacuated guest lodge; Level Three avalanche risk for area through Tuesday

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An avalanche directly above Gjestehuset 102 was triggered Sunday afternoon, but the snow did not reach any of the structures that have been evacuated since Friday, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

OK TO DRIVE IN NO-DRIVE ZONE: Governor temporarily lifts snowmobile ban on trail through Tverrdalen/Bolterdalen until midnight Monday for people returning to Longyearbyen

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A ban on snowmobile traffic on a popular snow trail between Adventdalen and Reindalen, several kilometers southwest of Longyearbyen, is being lifted until midnight Monday so people returning to town can avoid high-risk avalanche terrain, The Governor of Svalbard announced Saturday.

“It only provides an opening to drive through Tverrdalen/Bolterdalen from Reindalen – not in the opposite direction,” the announcement notes.

LARGE AVALANCHE ON HIORTHFJELLET: Snow covers snowmobile trail and near cabins across from Longyearbyen; nobody caught, but governor urging people to avoid area

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Photos by Dan Celius

A large avalanche triggered on Hiorthfjellet, directly across the bay from Longyearbyen, was observed Saturday moring covering a popular snowmobile trail and nearing cabins that are frequently occupied this time of year. Nobody was caught in the snow slide and no buildings were damaged, but the Governor of Svalbard is asking people to avoid the area.

ANOTHER EVACUATION OF NYBYEN (AND THIS ONE MAY BE LENGTHY): Massive buildup of hanging snow means buildings near mountains must be vacated ‘until further notice’

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An evacuation of the mountainside buildings in Nybyen for a third straight weekend – and one whose length will be measured in weeks – has been ordered as of 6 p.m. Friday due to large cornices overhanging the mountains (click link for video) due to heavy snow accumulation in recent weeks, The Governor of Svalbard announced at midday Friday.

The evacuation order, which affects 117 people mostly in student dorms and tourist lodging such as Gjestehuset 102, is until further notice.

“We will make weekly assessments of the situation, and the evacuation and the traffic and residence ban, but we emphasize that it is very uncertain when this can be lifted,” Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said in a prepared statement. “Consideration for life and health always comes first.”

The evacuation also has longer-term implications for the area since for many years it has been classified as a high-risk area and private entities, not the city, are responsible for the safety of the occupants.

IT’S A CLEAR DAY – AS IN, CLEARLY GOING PLACES ISN’T WISE: Flights cancelled, multiple avalanches, poor visibility means lots of risk and rescue attempts will be difficult, governor says

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Heavy snow Wednesday and predictions of more to come through Friday is prompting The Governor of Svalbard to urge people not to travel in mountainous terrain due to a high risk of avalanches and the likelihood rescues will be extremely difficult due to poor visibility.

The storm also resulted in the cancellation of the passenger and mail flights to Longyearbyen on Wednesday.

EXTREME AVALANCHE RISK WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY: Level Four conditions forecast for Longyearbyen vicinity and East Svalbard due to wind and large amounts of unstable snow

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Map of 13 avalanches near Longyearbyen and Barentsburg in past 72 hours by NVE

Update 5:40 p.m. Tuesday: A large avalanche  at in Ottofjellet, about 15 kilometers northeast of Longyearbyen, was reported late in the afternoon by a snowmobiler, according to The Governor of Svalbard (see photo below). A Level Four risk alert is now in effect for the entire region.

Original story: An extreme risk of avalanches is forecast Wednesday and Thursday for some of Svalbard’s most popular spring excursion areas – including the vicinities of Longyearbyen and Barentsburg, and east Svalbard – due to increasing winds and significant accumulations of unstable snow, according to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate.

‘I WAS SURE MY COLLEAGUES HAD BEEN TAKEN BY THE AVALANCHE’: Large snowslide near Barentsburg on Monday misses members of snowmobiling group by meters

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A large avalanche 200 meters wide near Barentsburg on Monday afternoon apparently triggered by a snowmobiling group missed two people in the group by about 10 meters, according to officials and another member of the group who said he was certain his two friends had been killed.

The avalanche is the latest of several in popular spring travel areas in Svalbard and officials on Tuesday issued an alert waring of extreme danger in many of those areas Wednesday and Thursday.

EASTER EVACUATION ENDS: Two-day residential and traffic ban in Nybyen and Lia due to avalanche risk cancelled

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An evacuation of the mountainside buildings in Nybyen, plus a traffic ban in that area and the Lia neighborhood, was cancelled Monday afternoon by The Governor of Svalbard.

EVACUATION OF NYBYEN ORDERED BY 7 P.M. SATURDAY: Major storm Easter Sunday means mountainside buildings must be vacated until at least Monday, governor says; also applies to Lia

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An evacuation of the mountainside buildings in Nybyen and a ban on traffic in a portion of Lia – the same two areas evacuated for four days beginning last week – has been ordered by 7 p.m. Saturday by The Governor of Svalbard due to a major blizzard forecast Easter Sunday. In addition, the road between Nybyen and Longyearbyen School will be closed.

The evacuation will remain in effect until at least Monday morning, according to a statement by the governor.