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Six things they don't tell you about the snow in Norway

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Six things they don't tell you about the snow in Norway
There are quite a few things people don't tell you about the snow in Norway. Pictured is a Norwegian mountain range. Photo by Diego Vicente on Unsplash

Large parts of southern Norway were treated to the first snowfall of the year on Monday. Still, there are a few things that pictures on social media don't tell you about the white stuff that blankets the country.


The first snow that settles in Norway is a significant annual event. Typically, those in northern Norway and mountainous areas are treated to the first snowfall first.

On Monday, Oslo and other southern parts of Norway witnessed the first snow of the year settle.

While the current flurry may not be here to stay, snow will now begin to cover much of Norway from November well into the spring and up until April (and perhaps beyond) in the more mountainous and northerly regions.

Despite snowfall seeming simple enough on the surface, there are several things that people don't tell you about the snow in Norway.

You'll soon understand why everyone takes their shoes off indoors

In Norway, it is customary for people to take their shoes off indoors. There is a very practical reason for this. In the winter, roads and pavements are gritted to prevent slipping and ice. These nasty little pieces of debris will routinely lodge themselves in every piece of footwear you own. 


The risk of wearing shoes indoors while these pieces of stone and grit are lodged in your shoes will be ruining or scuffing up your or someone else's floors. 

If they don't mess up your floor, you'll be in for a nasty shock when you step on one barefoot. Although they aren't quite up there with the likes of Lego when it comes to the things you don't want to step on unexpectedly scale. 

It's business as usual 

This week may actually be an exception to the rule, as snowfall has caught a couple of drivers aware- leading to accidents. However, typically, the country doesn't come to a grinding halt, unlike elsewhere (we're looking at you, England). 

Roads will stay open, transport will run (mostly) on time, and people will go about their daily business. 

Schools and workplaces hardly ever shut. Kids are also encouraged to play outside in the snow pretty much all of the time- with only extreme weather forcing them inside. 

It isn't as pretty as social media makes it seem (at least in the cities) 

If you are lucky enough to be in a rural location, covered in fresh snow on a clear day- then not a lot looks better than the ice crystals glistening. 

But if you spend most of your time in the city, you'll be more used to grey, sleaty sludge sitting by the curbs than pristine snow-capped mountains. 

The presence of snow in Oslo makes the normally clean city feel a bit grimier than it really is. 


Not all snow is the same

In this article, we've already described two varieties of snow you'll encounter in a typical winter. It doesn't end there, though. You have powder snow, ski slush, icy snow, thick compacted snow and much more. 

After enough time in Norway, you will soon learn to differentiate between the countless types of snow you will find- especially if you are into winter sports. 

Trendy trainers? Good luck 

In a survey among readers on how to dress like a Norwegian, one respondent remarked on the state of Norwegians' footwear- stating that a go-to would be dirty, beat-up trainers to look like a local. 

Perhaps there is some explanation for this. Wearing trainers in the snow is a bad idea. If they are fabric or suede, they will probably soak through. Then if you are in the city, grey sleet will discolour them. If it's icy, you may also suffer an embarrassing fall. 

Some of these issues are negated by the fact that brands are now selling warmer, more water-resistant versions of their best-sellers. Still, invest in a proper pair of shoes if you want to keep your trainer selection intact. 


It will still be warm inside

The majority of buildings in Norway are built with heat retention heavily ingrained in the building plans. So when you walk into most buildings, stores or homes, you can expect it to be a lot toastier outside. 

It also means that the heating doesn't need to be cranked to full blast all winter, either. This year may be a slight exception due to high energy costs and authorities announcing that several public buildings will lower their heating to cut costs. 

In any case, many homes will also have a fireplace and a decent store of wood to help you get up to a more toasty temperature after a day out in the snow.


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