The Svalbard Ski Marathon, the area’s biggest local annual event, has been cancelled for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But for those able to appreciate the experience in a non-competitive way (and appreciate not paying the usual race fees), a near-marathon ski course will be offered Saturday and Sunday as part of an “alternative” Longyearbyen Ski Festival.
“Go when you want as far as you want and with whoever you want,” notes an announcement for the event by Svalbard Turn, which is hosting the weekend and normally hosts the ski marathon.
“No timing – go your own pace.”
The event begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Svalbard Snøscooterutleie, at the entrance to Adventdalen. Participants must register in advance, which will also enter them in a lottery drawing for prizes (prizes will also be given to all children who participate). They must also register at the course for tracking purposes and follow other virus-related rules such as social distancing on the trail.
Self-service ski waxing, with expert advice, will be available free from 5-7 p.m. at Svalbardhallen. A maximum of six people at a time will be allowed into the waxing space.
The trail will feature markers every four kilometers, but participants are responsible for their own safety.