Winter wonderland

Norway’s best-selling daily newspaper, the tabloid VG, provided much cold-related amusement today. First, they had a panel of experts online fielding reader questions about coping with the widest assortment of freezing weather problems imaginable. Then they had one of the most ridiculous articles plus poll I have seen in ages.

As temperatures continue to supply baffled readers with worries about how to handle -20C, -30C and -40C chills, the weather got so cold in Røros, which had its third sub -40C night in a row, that meteorological measuring instruments malfunctioned. VG’s experts reckoned that Norway can’t get much colder than somewhere between -50C and -60C. Since the record is -51.4C, I’m hoping they aren’t flexing up for a much higher (lower?) ceiling.

VG readers quizzed the panel with considerable invention. Some of the Q&A was instructive, as problems involving arctic motoring, outdoor exercise, and pet and child care were numerous. Some of it was surreal.

Readers were advised to avoid superficial frost injuries by regularly checking clothing used to protect their face, and using hands on face to warm their skin and remove any icy buildup from breath vapor. Wool was repeatedly recommended as the best option for a layer of warmth, being more resistant to becoming moist.

The skin’s natural fats and oils were also a favorite weapon with the cold consultants, and rather than trying to find some cosmetic or medical salve to fight the frost, they suggested not washing the face before leaving the house, and that men shave at night if at all.

Furry friends are better able to stand the cold if they get some regular exposure to it, but there is no reason for them to be out as long as usual. Dogs could well do with socks to protect against both the elements and salted roads.

On the odder side, one reader wondered if one could freeze-dry laundry (yes, synthetic fabrics freeze-dry particularly easily) and if sterility could result from ‘freezing the willy too much’. The latter was ‘hardly a problem with normal outdoor behavior, even in a cold Norwegian winter’ the sages said, but did allow for frost damage to male genitalia in the case of exposure due to accident.

VG went even further though, with a thoroughly ridiculous article about the fierce winter’s ability to thin out the population of national pests like the Iberian snail, the tick and the European viper, attached to a poll asking readers if they were ‘happy about the cold reducing the numbers of these species?’. The article was almost completely fact-free, based on interviewing scientists who repeatedly said they could only venture wild guesses or assumptions about the winter’s effects.

Bergen news site had an impressive video report of an ice bathing club’s 10th anniversary dip. The link is via for technical reasons. Watching this should warm you. And it’s a women’s club, so no danger of the aforementioned damage due to overexposure.


2 responses to “Winter wonderland

  1. “but did allow for frost damage to male genitalia in the case of exposure due to accident.”

    I have worn my kilt in -18c and it is not fun! I am a TRUE Scotsman if you were wondering…

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