Cold snap sets in, ski trails beckon

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State meteorologists were predicting a spell of seriously cold weather in most parts of Norway, as temperatures fell well below freezing in the southern part of the country as well as up north. Nearly 40 ski centers were set to be open over the weekend, and some ski trails were groomed even in the forests around Oslo.

There's not this much snow everywhere in the Oslo forests yet, but skiers were already hitting the trails and reporting a winter wonderland. PHOTO: Views and News

Some eager skiers were already hitting the trails around the capital earlier in the week, but the local ski association (Skiforeningen) cautioned everyone to use old equipment that can tolerate some scratches. Snow remains thin in many areas, meaning skiers can easily run into rocks and gravel.

Trail boss Olav Harlem at Skiforeningen reported some snow levels of as much as 30 centimeters at higher elevations, though, and fresh snow this week has left an average of 15-25 centimeters on many forest roads. Skiers were urged to remain cautious about skiing over the lakes, because ice thickness varies and may not be secure.

Alpine centers from Tryvann Vinterpark in Oslo to resorts like Trysil in Hedmark and Geilo in the mountains were bracing for an influx of skiers. Some ski resorts opened late last month, and now most of the rest are catching up.

Everyone was advised to bundle up, as it was expected to be quite cold everywhere, bitterly so in some areas. Meteorologists reported a high-pressure system settling over the country that’s expected to remain until well into next week.

“We’ll have a long cold spell, according to how it looks now,” meteorologist Bjart Eriksen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He predicted temperatures will fall to minus 20C in outlying areas and around minus 10C in Oslo.

Even Bergen, where winter temperatures can be mild, was due to see thermometers down at minus 5C. Temperatures in the mountains of southern Norway were due to vary between minus 18- and minus 20C, even during the middle of the day. It’s already been that cold in northern Norway, where the sun is quickly disappearing for the next several weeks.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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