‘Half of Norway’ off on Easter holiday

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Lots of snow in the mountains was promising skiers one of the best Easter holidays in years. Traffic was expected to be heavy for the next few days as hundreds of thousands of Norwegians take off from school and work, with many heading for the hills.

This was the scene in the mountains above the valley of Gudbrandsalen last weekend, and such scenes can greet Norwegians on Easter skiing holidays this week as well. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

A new survey conducted for the travel industry’s employers’ organization NHO Reiseliv showed that more than half of Norway’s population intended to travel during parts or all of the coming week. The officials Easter holidays begin next Thursday and run through Monday, but many families take the entire week off.

The majority travels to holiday cabins (hytter) in the mountains, while mountain hotels also enjoy brisk business. Kristin Krohn Devold, a former defense minister who now heads NHO Reiseliv after earlier serving as secretary general of the Norwegian Mountain Trekking Association DNT (Den Norske Turistforening), said she’ll be going to her family’s cabins in Numedal and Hemsedal herself.

“We’ve found that most Norwegians have påskefjellet (Easter in the mountains) as their preferred destination,” Devold told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) this week. “That tradition remains extremely strong in Norway. But there are many students and older people who stay in town, and they can have a good Easter, too.” While many restaurants, stores and businesses used to close down during the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, far more are staying open along with cinemas and museums offering special exhibits and events.

This year’s Easter holidays were expected to be cold all over the country, though, so the outlook wasn’t good for enjoying a drink or meal in the sunshine at an outdoor café. After a few days of mild temperatures in the Oslo area, and even some rain on Friday, state meteorologists forecast a new cold front moving in with temperatures below zero again and even more snow.

“There’s still snow everywhere,” meteorologist Rafael Escobar Løvdal told newspaper Dagsavisen. He predicted fine skiing conditions not just in Northern Norway and in the mountains but also along the coast of Southern Norway and in the hills around Oslo.

There were the usual warnings that skiers in the mountains should be sure to use sunglasses and sunscreen when the sun comes out. Nordland and Østlandet were expected to have the best winter weather during the next week.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund