At 79 degrees north, in the artic desert of the Spitsbergen island group, the Svalbard skimarathon was organized on Saturday 26th of April. The wheather was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, and reasonably hot. Not even 10 degrees below zero. It all made for an incredible cross country race through amazing artic nature.
In April the midnight sun is already up and shining in Longyearbyen, the â€capitalâ€ of Svalbard and the worlds northernmost family community. It certainly feels strange in the middle of the night that the sun shines brightly – there is nowhere to hide.
In the rules of the ski race it is written; “Due to danger of attack from polar bears (which is valid all over Svalbard), there are armed guards along the track on snow scooters. The participants should not carry weapons.” However, we didn’t see any polar bears, but had time to visit some big seals, who were lazing in the sun.
About 2000 people live in Longyearbyen. And on days like this it is understandable why they choose to get away from it all. The place is almost on the north pole. Actually it is a base for many going to the north pole. Like my aunt, who we meet on her way back, as she was celebrating her ascent to the top of the world.