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Tips from a local

Tips from a local

Kjetil Slettnes

Tips from a local

My name is Kjetil Slettnes. My engineering job at Kongsberg Satellite Services is very interesting and that, combined with my joy of adventures, was why we came here 10 years ago. My children, partner and I really enjoy it here. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why we like Svalbard so much, but it has something to do with the contrasts and working for a futuristic high-tech company combined with the proximity to nature, natural forces, proximity to other people and the absence of traffic lights. There's a complete lack of make-up and false pretence and you're left with honesty.

These are my favourites in Svalbard. I hope you enjoy experiencing some of this!



Ski trip to Trollsteinen or the Lars Hierta mountain


Skiing during the Polar Night to Trollsteinen or Lars Hierta mountain using a headlight. It's calm and you feel the sound of the Northern Lights and hear your skis gliding upwards. I recommend turning off your headlight when you reach the top of the Larsbreen glacier, and using the little natural light provided by the stars, the Northern Lights or the moon. This is a wonderful experience when the rest of the day is completely dark. It's completely dark in Svalbard during the Polar Night, which is different to, for instance, Tromsø. We Svalbardians don't count the Polar Night in Tromsø as the Polar Night since there's some light during the day.

Nachos at Kroa and a burger at Coal Miners' Cabin


After a ski trek, I enjoy a beer and nachos at Kroa with my ski boots on. A burger at Coal Miners' is also a sure winner.

The February Light!


The blue light in February. Finally! The darkness of the Polar Night has hidden the cold and beautiful white landscape. There are few such experiences in life. This is something really special. I prefer to experience this while wearing skis and warm down clothes.

Snowmobile trips in April


April is a wonderful month in Svalbard. After 20th of April, we have sunshine 24/7, which offers countless opportunities for snowmobile safaris in the Arctic wilderness. I often choose a short ride in the area around Longyearbyen. I take my skis on the snowmobile and put them on and ski up a mountain close to town like Ottofjellet, Sjampanjeglasset (the champagne glass) or Knorrongfjellet.

It doesn't really matter where you go because everywhere has its own charm. I recommend staying one night at the hotel in Barentsburg with dinner at the brewery. The next day you can go up the Grønnfjordbreen glacier to enjoy the view or drive to the beautiful Fritjovbreen glacier.

Pyramiden is always an interesting place to visit. You reach this place after a long snowmobile drive and I recommend stopping in front of the photogenic Nordenskioldbreen glacier in the bay, Adolfbukta.

The East Coast: Drive from coast to coast across Svalbard and experience the great valleys and beautiful glacier fronts. There is always excitement associated with whether you see polar bears.

Ski & Sail in the Polar summer
 

Wake up to a new place every morning! Where you head is weather dependent. Local guides take you to the areas where the conditions are best. Everyone on the boat is looking for the same things: good skiing, fine weather and nice company.

Kayaking trips
 

One of the summer activities I enjoy most is using a kayak and paddling across Adventfjorden and then climbing up to Hiorthfjellet mountain. This is close to town but it's a challenging trip. It's worthwhile paddling out to Hiorthhamn, Advent City or Reveneset whether you combine it with a hike or not.

Boat trips in August


Boat trips enable you to reach areas you can't access by snowmobile and experience a lot of cultural history. Svalbard is full of old mines where people throughout history have tried to mine plaster, marble, coal, gold or other minerals. Most have gone bankrupt leaving relics of culture like machinery, railway tracks, mining shafts, buildings and shoes. You can also experience history from the whaling era and the time of expeditions and exploration. It's fun discovering trapping stations from the boat.

Friday beer at Svalbard Brewery


Every Friday the iconic Svalbard Brewery has Friday beers or beer tasting. You can sit in the brewery and enjoy a beer while watching the production. The varieties Stout and “Dark Season Blues” are exceptionally good.

Hike to Fuglefjellet


This is an excellent 3-4 hour hike in the months of July, August and September. You can enjoy amazing views of the Isfjorden and down to the bird colonies. You can hear the constant scream of the little auk. If you have time, you can also go to Grumant and experience this abandoned Russian mining community.

I welcome you to Svalbard!
Regards Kjetil

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