January 27, 2018

"I like to build a snow cave, fill it with candlelight and drink a bottle of red wine with my friends. We go outside and smell the snow."

"I live in a small village by the ocean with 300 inhabitants, mostly fishermen and old people. There are also three moose and two eagles who have joined us. I see lots of fish, birds and wildlife just outside my window. It’s a good substitute for the darkness, which does affect your mood."

Writes Gunda Hackbarth of Helnessund, Norway, one of many people quoted in "Snapshots From a Land of Endless Night/Readers describe the thrills and challenges of wintertime in the Far North." (NYT).

And here's Frank Stelges from 25 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska:
You still do a lot of things in the dark and my forehead carries the permanent imprint of my headlamp. I spend nearly the whole day outside chopping firewood for our house (we live off the grid), maintaining trails, plowing, going on walks with our dogs, snowshoeing, skiing, winter biking. It’s just great.
And: "We have a saying here in Norway: 'There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.'"

42 comments:

Fernandistein said...

http://www.meteovista.com/Europe/Norway/Helnessund/4322575
Min (°F) 28° 28° 27° 28° 28°
Max (°F) 32° 32° 32° 32° 32°

Fernandistein said...

https://www.wunderground.com/weather/us/ak/fairbanks
Today Sat 01/27 High -21 F
Tonight Sat 01/27 Low -28 F

Original Mike said...

I’d love that much night time sky, but the problem is the north polar skies are pretty boring. It’s the south polar region that’s spectacular, but your only choice there is Antartica

rhhardin said...

There's no internet in Norway.

Bill Peschel said...

"Smell the snow" is code for "do a line of coke."

mockturtle said...

While I love Alaska, I couldn't manage the long, dark winters.

JaimeRoberto said...

Can he build a snow cave with his iPhone?

mtrobertslaw said...

"... the problem is the north polar skies are pretty boring."

Only if you factor out the Northern Lights.

Big Mike said...

Where’s that cartoon about polar bears clawing their way into an igloo? Seems appropriate here.

Most of us get unhappy about the short days of winter when the sun comes up after 7:00 AM and goes down before 5:00. Dark all day is not where h. sapiens evolved.

Original Mike said...

”Only if you factor out the Northern Lights.”

I travel with a crowd who, when the northen lights fire up, everybody groans. It can interfere with observing. But yeah, intense northern lights are pretty cool. I want to do the Norwegian Hurtigruten specifically for the aurora.

wwww said...

And: "We have a saying here in Norway: 'There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.'"

This right here. It can be an adjustment if you don't know what to wear for the snow and ice. Two friends moved to Stockholm for work last week, but I know they'll enjoy it because they know how to approach wintertime. The husband is from Scotland, so he's not unaccustomed to dark.

Winter is beautiful, skiing is fun, and it's cozy to cuddle up at night with family, hot drinks, a good book or Friday night movie night.

Take vitamin D supplements if less sunlight gets you down. Get outside to ice skate, ski, or go for a nice walk in the snow. Go swimming or go in the sauna or hot tub.

AllenS said...

We have a saying here in Wisconsin: "It's noon somewhere." That helps getting us through the winter. I heat my garage and shop with wood. In the basement of the house, I have a propane furnace and a wood stove that I burn wood and coal. I start cutting wood in the late winter-early spring when most of the snow is gone, but the frost isn't out of the ground yet. I also cut wood in the fall-early winter. I split and stack all of my wood immediately after I bring it out of the woods. Do not wait until winter arrives to cut your wood. It will burn safer and better if it is seasoned. If I was to try and get into the woods now, it would take me a long time just to plow a road out there. Watched the video, and didn't see any wood piles, but noticed that every residence seemed to have electricity. How bad can it be?

William Chadwick said...

I hate winter , but I love the idea of a snow fort. I would love to have the one in the underrated movie SNOW DAY. Even had a television. Of course mine would be a libertarian snow fort, complete with a small armory for blasting invaders into next Spring, and with the Gadsden flag flying proudly above.

Chuck said...

Now I understand why we need more people from Norway, and fewer from the various shithole countries.

anti-de Sitter space said...

Houston-type places (shitholes?) have their own axiom: "We have a saying here: 'There is no such thing as bad weather, only broken AC.'"

steve uhr said...

I lived in Fairbanks for a year. The northern lights in the winter are like nothing else. Bright ribbons of color whipping across the entire sky. Gets you outside in -30 degree temps.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I lived in Alaska for ten years and graduated from the University of Alaska. It was only keeping busy with school work that kept me sane during those winters.

There's a saying up there. In the US one in ten adults is an alcoholic. In Alaska one in ten adults is an admitted alcoholic. In Fairbanks one in ten people is an admitted alcoholic.

FleetUSA said...

I visited Norway frequently on business and really appreciated the long days in summer and long nights in winter. A beautiful country and people.

Yancey Ward said...

I would like to spend at least 1 year in a place like Svalbard before a I die.

MayBee said...

I would love to see the northern lights. I hope to some day.

Winter really is beautiful, but I don't enjoy being cold. I did buy a really warm coat a few years ago, and that has made a huge difference. The dogs still get walked in the single digit temperatures. And night in the snow is so quiet.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mesquito said...

If you go to Spain, Majorca, or the Canary Islands right now you'll see an appreciable fraction of Norway's population.

traditionalguy said...

My wife still has her 1980 purchased, icelandic wool sweater from Norway. It repels water, stays warm and looks new.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Trad: I still have a Norwegian heavy "sailors sweater" my father brought me back in about '68, from a trip including Bodo, Norway. Excellent thing.
They had to circle over the airport for 40 minutes, waiting for the slush on the runway to freeze hard, so the brakes would have something to grab.

LuAnn Zieman said...

My father and I journeyed to the land of his tribe--Norway--Trondheim area, to be exact, in June of 1981. We stayed with relatives right on the Trondheim Fjord--a small village named Lensvik. Luckily, they had blackout curtains in the bedrooms or I would never have slept. It was bad enough listening to chirping birds through the "night." It was the site of the sinking of a German sub during WW2.

ceowens said...

Trad and Fred,

A friend of mine was stationed in Iceland in 1968. My mother and his were best friends. My mother sent him $50 and he purchased 4 Icelandic sweaters, one each for me and my siblings. I wore mine this last Christmas season. Different colored wool with no dyes. No seams, knitted on one set of needles, I think. Do not recall it ever being cleaned. You can still smell the lanolin.

Clyde said...

It looks beautiful, but much colder than my subtropical-adapted blood could stand. I would like to see the northern lights somewhere other than Skyrim, but not be cold, in the same way that everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.

tim maguire said...

Nice montage, great pictures. Thanks for linking.

gspencer said...

"It’s a good substitute for the darkness, which does affect your mood."

Many others used alcohol.

Michael K said...

"I would love to see the northern lights. I hope to some day"

In September 2016, we went to a "backcountry lodge" in Denali. It is 50 miles into Denali Park on an old gold mine claim.

Gorgeous. Northern lights very impressive but cold. It was the week before the park closed.

Didn't get any photos of the Aurora.

Josephbleau said...

No bad weather, only bad clothing. Ingen dorlig var Bara dorlig clar. It rhymes in Norsk sprok.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

If you are a Norwegian man shorter than 5'-9", or a Norwegian woman shorter than 5'-5", they make you tell foreigners that you're Finnish.

Or so I've been told.

Roughcoat said...

Grew up three blocks from Lake Michigan in Evanston next to Chicago. Saw northern lights over the lake on occasion. Not a frequent occurrence but by no means unknown. One year at Michigan State University in E. Lansing and northern lights were frequent, at least in the winter of that year. 18 years in Colorado, often saw the Aurora shimmering over the Rockies, especially on the Western Slope. Best of all sightings in Colorado but good ones in Canada too. Point being, you don't have to go to Norway or Alaska and suffer through miserable months of perpetual darkness to see the lights.

DanTheMan said...

>>"We have a saying here in Norway: 'There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.'"

I was in Tromso for three days in October. I must have heard that 10 times...

Zorfwaddle said...

Pulled into Norway quite a few times (Tromso included) during my USN career. What a great place. Expensive as hell but the place is beautiful and the people are really nice.

DanTheMan said...

>>I would like to see the northern lights somewhere other than Skyrim, but not be cold,

Clyde, check out the glass igloos in northern Finland. You can stay in a nice warm bed and watch the lights all night long.

DanTheMan said...

>>Expensive as hell

Indeed. A beer can easily be $20 USD! Or so I was told... ;)

anti-de Sitter space said...

"If you are a Norwegian man shorter than 5'-9", or a Norwegian woman shorter than 5'-5", they make you tell foreigners that you're Finnish."

Don't forget 69 (not that those folks use inches) re gals:


"I gotta be forgiven
If I want to spend my living with
A long cool woman in a black dress
Just a five nine
Beautiful
Tall
With just one look I was a bad mess
Cause that long cool woman had it all"

wwww said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Earnest Prole said...

I prefer going to the snow rather than having the snow come to me.

Ipso Fatso said...

Grew up in Calumet City, IL. The lights along Burnham Avenue in winter were beautiful.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Snow caves are dangerous unless you are with multiple people constantly watching. People die in them. Norwegians that far north prefer to build small second homes or Sami-style tents instead, just a ways up behind the house, maybe a half-mile or so.

Even that far north, Norway's not that cold. The Gulf Stream keeps it moderate. Helnessund would have weather about like Boston or Providence.

As for the saying, I have never heard it until this year, and am now hearing it everywhere, so I'm guessing it's not really a Norwegian saying (though they would likely agree with it). I texted my son in Tromso, but he's already in bed for the night.

People who live on or near the Arctic Circle say the continuing daylight of summer is harder to deal with, because you have sleep debt beginning in May and don't start catching up until October.