‘White Christmas’ all over Norway

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After one of the warmest autumns on record, most Norwegians taking off for holidays this week and next can expect a “White Christmas” after all. State meteorologists predict that even in southern and western Norway, some snow that fell late last week and over the weekend will stick around into the New Year.

Snow on Sunday dusted Oslo's historic Akershus Fortress and Castle on the inner harbour, and Christmas trees set up along Aker Brygge. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Snow on Sunday dusted Oslo’s historic Akershus Fortress and Castle on the inner harbour, and Christmas trees set up along Aker Brygge. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

It wasn’t much, but it paradoxically warmed the hearts of many locals. They also got some good news from their local weather forecasters.

“It looks like the colder weather will continue, also at lower elevations,” Eldbjørg Moxnes of the state Meteorologic Institute told newspaper Aftenposten. She couldn’t promise temperatures below the freezing point right down to the waterline in coastal areas, but even in Oslo, there was snow along the inner harbour.

Not much if any new snow was expected, though, after the welcome powdering of areas all over southern Norway on Sunday. The fresh snow immediately lightened up the dark days, covered trees and provided the nostalgic atmosphere traditionally associated with the Christmas holidays.

“We can expect some partially cloudy skies but mostly nice weather through the week,” Moxnes said. Temperatures were predicted to hover around the freezing point and sink down to minus-5C by Friday, when Moxnes predicted sunshine during the roughly six hours that the sun rises above the horizon in southern Norway. More snow was forecast for the weekend between Christmas and New Year.

Finally snow from north to south
There’s already been lots of snow in Northern Norway, up in the mountains of southern Norway and also along the West Coast, with Bergen hit by some heavy winter weather last week. In the metropolitan Oslo area, though, the days have been dark, often foggy and damp, and unseasonably mild. Daisies continued to bloom in balcony flower boxes well into December, for those who didn’t have the heart to uproot them after a long summer season.

The freeze that’s finally taken hold finally ended any more blossoming but it’s unlikely flower tenders are complaining. Dreams of a White Christmas run strong in Norway, not least among those who’ve been waiting to take their first ski trip of the season.

Until now, even Oslo’s ever-optimistic local ski association (Skiforeningen) has had to admit that it hasn’t been possible for them to prepare ski trails except for some limited distances in the local hills’ higher elevations at Sollihøgda and Ringkollen. Another problem for skiers is that hardly any of the lakes that dot the hills and forests known as marka have frozen, and the ice that has begun to form on a few of the small lakes isn’t secure. Many ski trails go right over the lakes that should have frozen last month, so that also limits skiing possibilities.

Skiforeningen was so anxious to offer some skiing options to its members and followers that it actually chartered a bus and offered a free ride up to Sjusjøen in the mountains between Hamar and Lillehammer on Sunday. Now, though, they’re hoping to prepare some trails in Nordmarka with the snow that fell on Sunday, at least on a few of the forest roads.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund