Category Archives: Svalbard

SHORT-TERM GAIN, LONG-TERM PAIN: A dozen evacuated ‘red zone’ homes can again be occupied until winter, but dozens more may join demolition list due to avalanche exposure


Good news: a dozen apartments can now be occupied during the next several months just in time for the many employees arriving for the start of summer cruise ship season next week. Bad news: the list of about 140 residences scheduled for demolition beginning as soon as this month due to their avalanche exposure may add another 41 units because previous hopes of protecting them may be unfeasible.

Random weirdness for the week of May 21, 2019


Everybody can’t stop talking about the awfulness known as the last season (or two) of “Game of Thrones,” so of course we have to start this week’s rant with Svalbard-related weirdness after the fiasco of a finale because, well, people can’t stop talking about GoT (a.k.a. clickbait galore!).

FATAL AVALANCHE AT HORNSUND: Two residents at Polish research station killed during weekend trip


A man and woman who departed from the Hornsund research station for a weekend trip were found dead Sunday after being caught caught in an avalanche and swept virtually the entire length down a steep mountainside, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

BANK BANDIT SENTENCED: Man who stole 70,000 kr. in first-ever heist in Svalbard gets 14 months in prison, 60,000 kr. fine


A Russian man in his late 20s who gained worldwide infamy by committing the first-ever armed bank robbery in Longyearbyen at the end of December last year has been sentenced to 14 months in prison and ordered to pay 60,000 kroner to the three bank employees he held at gunpoint.

Random weirdness for the week of April 30, 2019


It’s always an honor (cough) to publish yet another award-winning photo in a “Travel Photographer of the Year” contest in this space, this time featuring a polar bear consuming its prey “80 degrees north of Svalbard.” Uh, wait…what?!

SAS STRIKE OVER: Flights to Svalbard resume Friday after week-long walkout proves costly and troublesome


A pilot strike at Scandinavian Airplines ended as of Friday, a week after it started, but for thousands of people trying to travel between Svalbard and the mainland during one of the busiest times of the year the high costs and frustrations remain.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of April 30, 2019


Stronger oversight of working conditions in Svalbard vital, labor minister says during visit
Recent problems including numerous workplace violations during a local hotel renovation and widespread complaints from tourism guides are examples of why tighter oversight and enforcement of labor laws are necessary, Norwegian Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Anniken Hauglie told about 150 business and other officials during a meeting this week.

SAS MAKING ‘PRIORITY’ FLIGHTS TO SVALBARD: Airline will offer Oslo-Longyearbyen flights on Monday and Tuesday despite strike


Scandinavian Airlines, which has caused chaos across Europe by cancelling flights affecting tens of thousands of travellers since Friday, announced it will use its limited pilots to make “priority” flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen on Monday and Tuesday.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of April 23, 2019

11-year-old with lymphoma got life-threatening misdiagnosis from local hospital, mother says
Sander Higraff, 11, was recently declared cancer-free after six months of chemotherapy at an Olso hospital, but an incorrect diagnosis by Longyearbyen and Tromsø doctors lasting ten months after his condition first appeared in 2015 could have been fatal, said his mother, Kristin Woxholth.

It’s a marathon and a sprint: Participants make hasty adjustments due to airline strike, poor snow for 27th Svalbard Skimaraton


Jenny and Johan Rosendahl had to quickly and at great cost rebook their airline tickets from Stockholm to Longyearbyen to make it Saturday’s Svalbard Skimaraton due to the Scandinavian Airlines strike that began the day before. But minutes before they both set off from the starting line of a course that also went through hasty last-minute changes, they said the hassle and expense was worth it.

“Of course,” Johan Rosendahl said. “Now we’re here, and it will be an adventure and a memory for life.”