Norwegian Ice Sliding

It’s Spring in Norway and the snow has begun to melt. The temperatures are still below zero during the night and a morning stroll for a foreigner means having to confront the Norwegian ice.

Norway, Oslo, Winter, Ice

I moved to Oslo, Norway in August 2012. An opportunity to live overseas (which happened to be on the top of my bucket list) came up and I had to take it. Arriving at the end of summer, I didn’t even consider snow and ice in the streets. The first snow fell in October, but it was some months before the snow built up, became compacted and eventually turned into a slippery, mirror-like surface.

I became a bit nervous walking on ice (imagine Bambi on ice), after a pretty hard fall just before Christmas. It got me thinking, how do other people manage to walk on the ice and not fall over. So I started asking around. For the other foreigners it’s a bit of scary prospect. Some wear slip on spikes on their shoes to get a bit more grip. I had a look in the shops to see what else could help prevent me from falling again. I saw a pair of shoes with built in spikes, a bit like golf shoes. I thought these would be a good purchase, so I consulted my Norwegian partner for some advice. He said the shoes could help on the ice, but could also give me a false sense of security. Also when I’m walking inside, like in a shopping centre, the spikes could make it harder and I’d probably slip over there instead. So that’s a no, don’t get the shoes.

I then asked some Norwegians if they wore spikes. No one did, although some said their grandmas occasionally wore them. Their secret? Relaxing. Going with the flow. If you slide a bit, who cares?! The key is not to over react or over compensate the small slide and end up sliding faster or longer, which inevitably ends up with a fall. And here was my problem. I became so wary about walking on ice, that I stiffened up. If I felt a bit of a slide, I freaked out and my arms went flailing until I could grab something (sometimes someone) and steady myself. I needed to learn how to do the Norwegian slide.

Could I learn it in one season? Just look at these paths…

Norway, Oslo, Winter, Ice

Well, Spring is officially here and I haven’t fallen over since. I’m not sure I have the grace of a native Norwegian and my heart still races when I slip a bit. But I do think I’m getting the hang of it. My style is not so much the Norwegian slide, but it’s not Bambi anymore either. I tend to imagine it probably looks like a little old Chinese lady hurriedly shuffling down the street.

Have you ever had to contend with ice?

One thought on “Norwegian Ice Sliding

  1. Thank you for this article! It helps not to be alone! I moved to Norway in April and the thought of ice walking worries me, especially down a hill! Thanks for the advice 🙂

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