Strict safety rules apply against the threat from polar bears on Spitsbergen/Svalbard. In recent years, visitors have been killed and others injured in attacks. If travelling beyond certain points in the main town Longyearbyen, travellers must be armed with – and proficient in using - a high-powered rifle. If camping, alarms must be set-up – and tested - around tents to warn of any approaching bear. If you kill or shoot at a bear, you must report it to local authorities.
Always check weather forecasts and information on other local conditions (e.g. crevasses on glaciers) before setting out cross-country – hikers and skiers have died after ignoring advice in popular hiking areas like the Hardangervidda Plateau. Conditions can become treacherous almost any time of the year apart from July and August. And even in high summer, be aware of the risk of avalanches, particularly in high areas like Jotunheimen.
Never venture onto a glacier without proper equipment and experience, and always consult locals on current conditions. Even better, go with an experienced guide.