Norwegian word of the day: Snøras

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian word of the day: Snøras
Caption photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

Given the recent weather in Norway, you should watch out for this word, or it could cost you dearly.


What does snøras mean?

Snøras is a combination of two different words. The first is snø (yep, you guessed it – meaning snow) and ras which is used to describe the falling of mass such as snow, soil and rock. 

Norway being a northern climate means that winters are heavily characterised by snowfall. Heavy snowfall over a short amount of time can lead to an increased risk of snøras

While snøras can be used as the word for avalanche, many Norwegians also refer to avalanches as snøskred. Skred itself means landslide, with the word combining to mean snow landslide. Avalanches in Norway are a serious business and claim a handful of lives each year, typically skiers caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. 


Despite snøskredd being more common, the two words can be used interchangeably to describe an avalanche without any real issues. 

Snøras is commonly used to refer to snow that can fall off of roofs and buildings. While this may seem minor, falling snow from roofs can be very dangerous. This snow can build up over months and harden, meaning that if it were to land on someone's head, it would cause considerable damage. 

In areas with plenty of snow, some services offer to remove snow from roofs to eliminate any risk. 

In big cities, buildings at particular risk are typically signposted. They will generally say something like Fare for snøras (falling snow warning). These signs can, unfortunately, look quite appealing if you are unsure what they mean as they are brightly coloured and seem as if they are signposting a point of interest. 

But equipped with this new knowledge, you should know that the signs are meant to be a deterrent than attract you. 

Use it like this

Se opp for snøras! 

Look out for falling snow! 

Det gikk et stort snøras over veien i går. 

There was a huge avalanche yesterday that covered the road. 

Snøras kan være farlig, så det er viktig å være forsiktig når det har snødd mye. 

Falling snow can be dangerous, so it's important to be careful when it's snowed a lot.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also