Oslo, Trønder folks most eager to ski

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Most Norwegians still enjoy heading out on a ski trip, especially those living in Oslo and the country’s central region of Trøndelag. New figures from state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway) indicates, however, that the classic winter sport has become somewhat less popular in recent years.

Norway’s prepared ski trails still beckon many but fewer Norwegians than in years past. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

SSB compared responses for the years 2011, 2014 and 2017 from their surveys called Levekårsunder-søkelsen. They measure among other things Norwegians’ preferred free-time activities.

“Cross-country ski trips of less than three hours are still the most popular skiing activity,” Kristina Strand Støren of SSB told news bureau NTB this week, just as hundreds of thousands of Norwegians headed for the hills and mountains for spring skiing during the Easter holidays.

Støren noted, however, that the portion of the public who took at least one ski trip during the course of the year declined from 42 percent in 2011 to 34 percent in 2017.

The numbers of Norwegians heading out for longer ski treks of more than three hours also declined, from 29 percent in 2011 to 23 percent six years later. The numbers are the most recent available, with the next survey due next year, in 2020.

Støren could also report that fewer Norwegians are active in downhill skiing, snowboarding or Telemark skiing but the decline was more modest, down three percentage points to 21 percent in 2017.

The most marked decline came among young Norwegians aged 16 to 24. Fully 44 percent of them had taken ski treks of less than three hours in 2011, but that was down to 32 percent in 2017. Those who had gone alpine- and slalom skiing sunk from 50- to 39 percent in the same period. Weather factors may play a role, however, depending on the amount of snow and skiing conditions in any given season: Norway’s state meteorological institute reported that the winter of 2010-2011 had above-average snowfall, and more than in the winters that followed.

The most eager skiers, meanwhile, live in Oslo, the capital’s surrounding county of Akershus, and in Trøndelag. That may have something to do with all the prepared ski trails in the local hills and forests (called marka) around the Oslo metropolitan area and Trondheim. Both cities boast “marka” areas that are close to downtown and easily accessible by public transport.

SSB’s study also shows that Norwegians with high levels of education go skiing more often than those who haven’t graduated from college.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund