Famous Scandinavians’ tips on how to survive winter and have fun
6 December 2018
For many people winter is something to go through rather than a season that you can fully enjoy.
However, there is another attitude held by people from the northern regions like Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. Scandinavia has one of the harshest winters on the planet — residents of the northernmost capital of the world, Reykjavik (Iceland), have up to 20 hours a day without the sun. However, Scandinavians’ approach towards winter is completely different, and their biggest grievance is that there is less snow these days than they would like (climate change is to blame).
So, what is the secret of success in the coldest climates? Perhaps, famous Scandinavians and their resilience (many of them are descendants of Vikings, after all) will inspire you to approach the winter season with a brand new outlook.
Noora Räty, a Finnish ice hockey player and four-time Olympic medalist
Her favorite childhood memories are countless hours of pond hockey with friends in air so cold that it was hard to tie skates without gloves on. She also likes ice swimming, which is great for recovery, and ice fishing. Childhood in the open air and the opportunity to play hockey and skate taught Noora discipline and perseverance, as cold weather or snow are not an excuse to miss training. Her main secret is to «remember that if you win the morning, you win the day so always wake up with determination, fill your day with action, and go to bed with satisfaction».
Katrin Alda, a footwear and accessories designer of Kalda, Iceland
She remembers how as a child she would lie in the snow and look at the Northern Lights for hours. At the time she didn’t even realize what they were, it was just a very natural thing for her to do in the evening. Alda says that winter is a normal part of life for Icelanders. She can imagine people finding it strange to hear about 20 hours of without light, but Icelanders embrace it and keep to their routine.
Kjær Weis, a makeup artist and founder of her own cosmetics brand, Denmark
«We’re pretty stoic, but I actually think a lot of Danes welcome winter with open arms because it brings the hygge atmosphere.»
Edda Gudmundsdottir, a stylist from Iceland, working with Bjork and Taylor Swift
Her favorite tradition is to attend a church concert on December 31. Most of the town gathers there to light fireworks at midnight. Edda launched one firework right before midnight with a note saying goodbye to the bad things and another after midnight with a note of what she wished for the new year. For her, winter is the time when you stay at home creating, reading books, and spending quality time with loved ones. Edda says that when she moved to New York, she couldn’t believe a minor snowfall was enough to cancel school and work. «Icelandic winters made me stronger and as a stylist it has given me a natural sense of layering.»
Heidar Logi, a professional cold-water surfer and yogi, Icelander but grew up in Denmark
«When you find something you love, like me with surfing, it’s amazing what you’ll do, no matter the conditions or how hard it is. This mentality has shaped me. It’s about having something that pushes you and understanding that bad weather can be good.» Logi recommends eating healthy, and although summer is a great time, everything he loves happens in winter. There are no such storms and waves in the summer, so he tries to surf in the winter (in Iceland) as much as possible.
Nielsen remembers, as teenagers, coming back from school, she and her friends would run home change and get their skis. «Winter is such a big part of the year here and who we are. We look forward to December, which is the darkest, but with all the Christmas lights, it’s one of the coziest times. It makes no sense to complain about weather every single day; you learn to appreciate what there is to appreciate. It’s not all good happy sunny days, there are contrasts everywhere.»
«I love skiing. They say Norwegians are born with ski on their feet. I am from the west coast of Norway, I’m used to proper storms. As a person, it makes you a bit more able to handle things. I don’t think I could live in a place that didn’t have a change in the seasons.»
Marianne Theodorsen, a blogger and PR specialist, Norway
«I like to stay home, light some candles, drink tea and look at the fire in the fireplace. You can stay inside under a blanket watching movies. I also love to take long walks when the weather is nice and the air is really crisp. The best medicine for winter depression is to wear colorful outfits.»