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Svalbard

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Anyone been there in July? Am sailing there and wondering if the snow is still existent for some ski tour assisted hikes.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Might need to have a gun with you. Polar bears can be a problem depending on where you are skiing
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
yuppie wrote:
Might need to have a gun with you. Polar bears can be a problem depending on where you are skiing


I bet they are hungry too in July and they can move pretty quick.

https://thebarentsobserver.com/sites/default/files/styles/full_width/public/eating_polar_bear_1.jpg?itok=tWc864aA

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/plane-crash-survivors-eaten-polar-14014166
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@ChrisKernow, friends are only very recently back from skiing up there so the answer is most likely yes - but as mentioned above bears are a very real threat up there...
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Yep, I know about the bear thing. I and my colleagues are renting two guns in Longyearbyen with all the proper training done and licences from the governor in place.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@ChrisKernow, went there 4 years ago on an Arctic explorer ship - 70 passengers with 18 wildlife & other discipline experts as guides plus Russian crew circumnavigating the archipelago. Best. trip. ever. Far too many photos to post here.

Was there enough snow to ski? - I would say not without hiking / snowmobiling into some of the interiors. Certainly we went ashore daily using the RIBs , and walked across glaciers and melt-water stuff, but without committing to getting further from the edge there was no-where that I would consider "skiable". OTOH we did go for a dip in the sea. A little chilly, but you know, swimming above 79 degree latitude is something you just have to do. (LYB is at 78 - we travelled above 80 to about 700km from the pole). I would suggest you'll need to commit to spending the night on-shore.

As you have rightly indentified, it is illegal not to have a gun if going beyond the city-limits of Longyearbyen - but if you are forced to use them and harm a bear, you will be hauled through a long and tortouous legal process: basically you should have taken sufficient precautions not to put the bear in that situation. It is treated as a murder case.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Arctic Roll, thanks. Our trip will be a little different - a 36ft yacht (equipped for high latitudes) and just 5 people Smile
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@ChrisKernow, are you (or another crew-member) blogging about the voyage? I always enjoy following arctic adventure sailing blogs over the summer...dreaming of the year I go myself!
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Inboard, no, I'm not much of a writer sadly.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Skied there in May - loads of snow but no idea how quickly it disappears. We had guides armed with rifles and at various points on the route people on snowmobiles appeared, again armed with rifles. Quite a surreal experience but thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and can recommend it.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Have just had an enjoyable day on a Polar bear rifle protection course at The Tunnel in Charmouth.

https://www.thetunnel.co.uk

Mike the instructor was very thorough and taught skills specific to the area, so things like using ski or trekking poles as a gun stick (harder than it sounds), the grim subject of the kill zones on a bear, stances that could be used, using the gun with thick gloves, maintenance in the cold and snow, and they have one of the common guns that are available to rent in Svalbard, a Mauser 30-06.

The cost was good too, £195 for one person or £345 for two, including the ammo. Certificate issued.

Some other info for anyone looking in future....

You need a permit from the governor to be able to hire a gun. The form can be printed off, completed and scanned / photo'd, along with accompanying documents, and emailed. It takes 4 weeks to come if when approved. Link here....

https://prodskjemavwr.fylkesmannen.no/eDocument.Viewer/Sysselmannen/bruker?retur=%2feDocument.Viewer%2fSysselmannen%2fRifleleie&shortname=Rifleleie

More info on guns here

https://www.sysselmannen.no/globalassets/sysselmannen-dokument/english/regulations/the-governor-of-svalbards-guidelines-for-firearms-and-scare-devices-for-protection-against-polar-bears.pdf


A Police ACRO certificate is suitable as a Certificate of Good Character. That can be applied for online. Link here.

https://www.acro.police.uk/police_certificates.aspx


There are two shops. One has the Mauser (5 bullet internal mag) and the newer Sabatti (10 shot mag) but is not open on a Sunday. Am unsure about the other shop. Both will require you to show you are competent.

http://sportscenteret.no

https://hurtigrutensvalbard.com/en/practical-information/shops-and-gear/longyear78-outdoor-and-expeditions
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