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

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. More »

Random weirdness for the week of May 21, 2019

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 More »

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

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 More »

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

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 More »

Random weirdness for the week of April 30, 2019

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 More »

 

SEE TO SKI: Bright lights for new ski hill as onlookers, volunteer operators and youths embrace the down side of life

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Emil Indreiten Johansen, 10, was the first to arrive with a friend, but still found himself enduring a lengthy wait to catch the pole lift at Longyearbyen’s new ski hill, since the cluster of oh-so-nearly trained adults to operate it were still at the top of the slope getting final pointers.

But after a three-year wait since the closure of the lift at a hill two kilometers from the one now in the center of town, he didn’t mind the delay – especially since he prefers it to the old one.

PROLONGED POST POSTPONMENT: Mail flight cancellations to last most of this week; special flights scheduled Wed., Fri.

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The cancellation of mail flights to Longyearbyen that began last week due to technical problems arising from a cracked wing are likely to continue through this week as the second of two planes used for such flights is now being serviced, according to officials.

‘No other place in the world is warming up faster than Svalbard’: March will be 100th straight month of above-average Svalbard temperatures, weather service says

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The cold made things interesting by taking the lead during the first half of March, but ultimately was overcome and now will suffer its 100th straight defeat as Svalbard is about to surpass its 100th straight month of above-average temperatures, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

ETERNALLY GOLD: Trym Aunevik gets royal welcome home after proving himself an all-time best at Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi

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Trym Aunevik, 17, didn’t return to Longyearbyen with any gold medals – or even bronze. But the same lifetime of determination earning him a trip to the Special Olympic World Games in Abu Dhabi deemed him worthy of competing against the best of the best once he got there and he went three-for-three in the larger challenge of achieving the gold for himself.

Aunevik, one of Norway’s four national champion swimmers at the Games, set personal records during two events and tied his best at a third while finishing fourth, fifth and sixth in the races. He got a “white carpet” reception when he arrived with his family at Svalbard Airport on Saturday evening with bright lights and teenage peers bearing Norwegian flags lined both sides of the snow-covered tarmac greeting him as he emerged from the plane to cheers of onlookers.

SCOOTER OFF: Governor overrules city, orders Hurtigruten Svalbard to immediately remove dozens of snowmobiles from open field due to complaints

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“No parking” of snowmobiles in a large field near the edge of Longyearbyen does not mean the city can violate its own code by declaring “except for a huge tourist fleet,” The Governor of Svalbard stated Friday in order demanding Hurtigruten Svalbard immediately remove dozens of its rental units from the area due to complaints from residents.

Snow now, snow tomorrow, snow forever: More than 100 locals gather in heavy snowstorm hoping it’s more than a memory in northernmost gathering of global ‘climate strike’

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As luck would have it – or not, if folks wanted a more “tragic” setting – it was an idyllic snowy Arctic morning for more than 100 people marching in the world’s northernmost gathering of a global youth climate strike that a reported 1.4 million people participated in worldwide Friday.

A drum-beating polar bear, kids holding signs atop a huge pile of freshly plowed snow, and promises not to keep participants standing in the chilly storm too long during a few speeches and songs all spoke to an Arctic that still exists. But with a recent study showing Longyearbyen has already lost two months of winter each year due to climate change in recent decades, Anna Kexel, a German student at The University Centre in Svalbard, told strikers she wants such days to be more than a memory.

10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY FLASHBACK: This was Icepeople’s homepage on July 29, 2010. It has most of our web articles between then and the first issue in March of 2009

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Seeds inside the Doomsday Vault in peril, amazingly warm winter temperatures, warnings about behaving badly around polar bears, a wrecked ship abandoned in a remote part of Svalbard…hmmm, maybe contrary to common perception Svalbard hasn’t changed all that much in ten years.

We’re putting the last touches on Icepeople’s 10-year anniversary issue and, while looking up a few of our first articles, came across this archived version of the homepage in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine from July 29, 2010. So we’re sharing it here just for the hell of it. It features most of the major stories between then and our first print issue on March 3, 2009, and contains plenty of surprisingly repetitive topics along with some now equally oddly obsolete content.

MISSING MAIL: Postal flight cancelled Wednesday and Thursday, so some of these shelves may be empty before the weekend

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Technical problems have resulted in the cancellation of the postal flight to Longyearbyen on Wednesday and Thursday, meaning many fresh grocery products and other items may be in short supply or unavailable, according to officials.

(Auto)pilot project: Shuttle bus comes to Longyearbyen for first-ever autonomous vehicle test in Arctic; free rides offered Thursday as company seeks longer route/test period

Applied Autonomy

The way people are gawking and taking photos at the stubby green contraption moseying its way up and down the center of Longyearbyen you’d think they’ve never seen a shuttle bus before. And they haven’t – at least not one where the “driver” is  navigating it by programming its route into a computer while sitting on the rear bench.

WINDY WHITEOUT: Blizzard puts Longyearbyen on avalanche alert, delays flight to mainland until at least after midnight

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A blizzard resulting in heavy snow and near-zero visibility Monday has triggered an avalanche alert for Longyearbyen, and led to the cancellation of one passenger flight to the mainland and the delay of a second until at least after midnight Tuesday, according to officials.