Norway's NRK to air 'Slow TV' snow melt

The Local Norway
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Norway's NRK to air 'Slow TV' snow melt
Norway's Filefjell Snow Research Centre, where NRK's cameras will literally watch snow melt. Photo: Filefjell Snow Research Centre

Norway's NRK channel wants viewers to literally watch snow melt next month, as it tracks the disappearance of the last patches of seasonal winter snow across the country in a week-long, 168-hour 'Slow TV' extravaganza.


The programme,  Snøsmeltingen, or The Thaw,  marks the latest outing for the channel's revolutionary Slow TV format, which it has made a speciality ever since it broadcast a seven-hour minute-by-minute broadcast from the front of a train travelling between Oslo and Bergen in 2009. 
It has since made a 134-hour live broadcast of the Hurtigruten coastal ferry creeping up the fjords, an eight-hour broadcast of a fire gently consuming itself, and an attempt to beat the world's "sheep-to-sweater" knitting record. 
For Snøsmeltingen, the channel will station teams at snow patches outside Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø, as well at the Filefjell Snow Research Station in Oppland County, where the gradual deterioration of the season's last snow will be scrutinised in minute detail using magnified cameras. 
The programme marks the 100th anniversary of the death in 1914 of Karentius Haugård, the Norwegian mathematician and photographer who, led by an obsessive desire to find two identical snowflakes, documented and categorised more than 5,000 different ice crystal structures, effectively launching snow science as a discipline. 
"You would think it would be boring television, but we have quite good ratings for these programmes, so obviously there's an audience for them," Jens Nordstrøm, the NRK journalist producing the programme told The Local. "Every Norwegian experiences 'tøvær' [the thaw season] each spring, but few take time to think about what it means."
As part of the snow week, the producers have teamed up with schools across the country to carry out a "national snow vigil", mapping the shrinking snow cover, while viewers are being encouraged to tweet or post to Instagram pictures of belongings that reappear which they thought had been lost forever --  such as tennis balls, shoes, and wallets. 
Correspondents will report live from Nordmarka, north of Oslo, as skiers go out on progressively bad snow, interviewing them about their experiences as the snow disappears.
"I am thrilled that NRK are finally taking this issue seriously", said Christian Leonard Quale, a computer scientist who spent a year documenting the various Norwegian words for snow. "A lot of enthusiasts like myself would normally take a few weeks off work to travel around watching the snow melt, but now I'll be able to follow the whole thing, as it happens, from my office."
Quale said he was looking forward to tracking the progression of snow types during the week. 
"I'd say the snow would go from being 'klabbsnø', which is the wet, sticky snow, via 'sørpe' (kind of a slushy consistency), and finally to 'slaps', when the snow is very wet, and really more water than snow," he said.  He said he also hoped to see some 'påskeføre', a skiing term referring to "the condition of the ski-trails during Easter", at least at the beginning of the week. 
The broadcast will also feature interviews with Norwegian celebrities about the role melting snow has had in their lives, and the effect it has had on their careers.
Crime author Jo Nesbø interviewed on how snow inspired him to write The Snowman, while former prime minister Jens Stoltenberg will speak of how he was inspired to get into politics thanks to the dripping noise of the melting snow from the roof outside of his window when he was ten. 
It's midday in Norway and custom dictates that we now reveal our chicanery, skulduggery and general tomfoolery.
As many readers no doubt have guessed, the above article has very little basis in fact, although klabbsnø, sørpe and slaps are all very real. 



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