GETTING SMASHED IN RECORD TIME? ’Stem’ of giant snow champaign glass on Operafjellet may break in June for first time ever due to heat; annual guessing game underway


Screenshot of snow “glass” on Operafjellet on May 28 from Svalbardposten website

If the record-breaking pace of snow melt in Svalbard has people steamed, right now it seems at least one of them will be able to inebriate their sorrows with some (hopefully well-chilled) champaign in record time as well.

The annual contest to guess when the the stem of the champagne-shaped snow formation on Operafjellet will break in two is underway, with a June 15 deadline for submissions because it appears the “glass” may not remain intact until July.

“In all the years the competition has existed, the stem has never broken in June,” an article posted Sunday at Svalbardposten’s website states. “This year it looks like it could happen. Especially if the heat and fine weather persist.”

Last year, due to heavy snowfall, the contest began nearly a month later on June 27.

All people guessing the correct breakage date this year will be entered into a drawing for the prize of a bottle of champaign. Entries specifying a date, one allowed per person, should be sent to with a subject line of “Stetten 2022.”

Breakage dates on previous years include July 2 in 2020 (the current earliest record), July 28 in 2019, July 29 in 2018, Aug. 5 in 2017 and July 22 in 2016. The latest breakage – so late there was some speculation enough fresh snow might arrive to prevent it from happening that year – before occurred on Aug. 31, 2012.