Snow cornices are a well-recognized hazard in mountainous terrain throughout the world. Unfortunately, three people lost their lives in cornice-related accidents in Norway during the 2018/2019 winter season, with fatalities in Lyngen in April 2019 and southern Spitsbergen in May 2019 punctuating a particularly deadly avalanche season throughout the country. This presentation will highlight recent cornice research from Longyearbyen and present a framework by which a better understanding of cornice dynamics can potentially lead to improved forecasts and hazard assessments in areas where cornices pose a snow avalanche hazard.
Holt Hancock: I am taking a PhD in snow and avalanche processes at UNIS in Svalbard. My main research interests lie in applying scientific research to improve avalanche forecasting routines -- particularly in Arctic environments. Before moving to Svalbard, I worked as avalanche technician at Big Sky Resort in Montana where I grew. I love the long ski seasons on Svalbard, but occasionally miss riding lifts.