Tourists in Tromsø need ‘brodder’

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Norway’s northern city of Tromsø has been welcoming record numbers of winter tourists the past few years, many of them coming to see the Northern Lights. Some wind up seeing entirely different sorts of lights instead, inside local emergency rooms after falling on the ice. Doctors now want the city or its hotels to help combat the problem.

"Brodder" come in various shapes and sizes, but most can easily be attached to shoes or boots so they'll better grip the ice. It can be a nuisance, though, to take them on and off when going indoors. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

“Brodder” come in various shapes and sizes, but most can easily be attached to shoes or boots so they’ll better grip the ice. It can be a nuisance, though, to take them on and off when going indoors. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Medical professionals are calling for tourists to be equipped with brodder, the handy if somewhat unfashionable cleats that can be attached to shoes or boots. The cleats dig into the ice on local streets and sidewalks, and therefore can prevent the person wearing them from slipping and falling.

Tromsø has been experiencing an especially hazardous winter this year, because of unusually heavy amounts of rain falling on the snow or simply freezing overnight. That’s made for extremely slippery streets and sidewalks.

“We see that more and more tourists are coming in after falling on the ice,” May-Elin Sømhovd, a departmental leader at the local emergency clinic Legevakten, told website itromso.no. She said hardly any of the long-distance travelers now visiting Tromsø have any experience dealing with ice on the pavement.

“We think it would be a fine idea if the tourist board encouraged tourists to buy brodder,” Sømhovd said. “Maybe they (the brodder) could even be decorated with the Northern Lights.”

Another idea would be for hotels to simply furnish brodder for their guests, much like they often provide umbrellas. Tourists may even think it’s fun to equip themselves with and use something they’ve never used before.

A sudden warm spell that’s hit much of Norway, especially the north, left Tromsø’s streets covered in ice this week and several homes and businesses flooded. Driving was hazardous, and state meteorologists were warning that another major storm would move in on Tuesday.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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