Category Archives: Svalbard

Build the walls! (And they’ll pay for it): Hurtigruten Svalbard planning 200M in hotel, recreation facility upgrades


Svalbard’s largest tourism company, which has already upgraded its main hotels and added new lodging during the past few years, is now planning a record 200-million-kroner expansion and upgrade of its facilities in anticipation of a major increase in tourism in Longyearbyen in the near future.

Saturated spirits: 25th Svalbard Skimaraton marred by rainstorm, but participants find the silver linings

Kari Jasinski said she wasn’t able to train because she’s been sick the past four weeks and the weather put a damper on participating in her first Svalbard Skimaraton. But even though she registered for the competitive class, ultimately the experience is about more than how fast she finishes or even the race itself.

Fuzzy tracks: Circumstances of polar bear shot near North Pole remain murky as officials suppport differing claims


Two different experts who’ve seen the videotape of a polar bear being shot near the North Pole this month are siding with two different narratives about what happened. It remains unclear who, if anyone, involved in other expeditions to the Pole were notified before they encountered the wounded bear. And it appears the bear itself is being left to its own fate.

Silver lining: Grey skies, optimistic mood for 25th Svalbard Skimaraton (UPDATE: race start delayed until 11:30 a.m.)


It started in 1993 as a small, casual race, although it was won one by one of the most famous cross-country skiers in Norway, Oddvar Brå, two years after he ended a 20-year international racing career. It grew steadily in size until race officials felt compelled to limit registration due to concerns about logistics and keeping track of participants on the course. But several years ago that got tossed out as organizers were able to rely on a large group of volunteers who come together every year to stage what’s by far the biggest annual one-day event in Svalbard.

ALERT: Five people hospitalized, two critically injured, as nine Russian snowmobilers fall through sea ice in Tempelfjorden


Nine people were hospitalized Thursday, and one remains in critical and unstable condition, after nine Russian snowmobilers broke through the sea ice in Templefjorden, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

Culture test: The March for Science now has its own ‘alternative facts’ about the northernmost participants


There’s indisputable photographic evidence Bernice Notenboom took part in the March for Science in Longyearbyen on April 22. But the quickly growing “reality” is she took part in the global event’s northernmost march at the North Pole.

‘No science, no beer!’ More than 100 people emphasize need for reality during Longyearbyen’s participation in the March for Science


Zoe Burr acknowledges she’s been living “in a bubble” during her studies of sea birds in Svalbard in recent years, which means she hasn’t heard much talk from skeptics of science – and also is less than ideally suited to reach out to them.

She tried to do so Saturday by taking part in the global March for Science on Saturday, with Longyearbyen among the roughly 500 locations expected to participate. The local marchers, plus those in Ny-Alesund, were the world’s northernmost participants.

Northernmost noisemakers: Longyearbyen, Ny-Ålesund to participate in global March for Science on April 22


A report just came out saying climate change needs to be a factor when experts determine the risk of avalanches in Longyearbyen. In certain parts of the world they wouldn’t even be allowed to use the phrase, much less rely on old data that’s being purged and new studies that may never be funded.

The growing emergence of that alternate reality is why Ny-Ålesund and Longyearbyen will be among the roughly 500 locations worldwide where a March for Science will take place on Saturday.

Margin of error: NVE evaluation of February avalanche says better data and more caution needed when evaluating risk


Get used to serious storms more frequently and evacuations after them as officials rely a bigger safety margin in determining if there is a risk of avalanches or landslides hitting structures.

Barneo, expeditions on high alert after polar bear shot by expedition; leader disputes accusation he failed to report incident


The leader of a group that shot and wounded a polar bear during a ski expedition from the Barneo ice camp to the North Pole is being accused of handling the encounter negligently and failing to report the incident to camp officials, therefore putting other expeditions in danger.

He is denying the accusations and offering a much different narrative of the encounter, which was also initially detailed in a post on his company’s website April 11, the date it occurred.