Snowmaking has created a need for a new word in Norway: Villsnø

Katrine Nordeide Kuiper

Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Artificial snow is the snow made by snow cannons at ski centers all over the world. In Norway snowmaking has become so common, that people have started calling regular snow falling from the sky villsnø.

There are many words to describe snow; powder, sleet, slush and villsnø. Directly translated the Norwegian word means wild snow. It is the snow we´ve been used to and the snow we dream of when thinking of a white christmas.

Last years snow

Cross-country skiing is a big deal in Norway and many of the biggest sports celebrities in the country are skiers. The ability to produce snow ensures good conditions for competitions that are held in Norway.

According to Trysil Ski, 9000 cubic metres of snow is needed to make a 6.3 kilometer long cross-country slope. This normally takes three days to produce if it´s minus 5 degrees celsius.

Norway´s biggest ski star, Petter Northug, in action.
Norway´s biggest ski star, Petter Northug, in action. Photo Credit: Lene Haug, AktiviOslo.no (Flickr)

Another method used by ski parks is snow preservation. Under layers of sawdust the snow is kept from the previous year. Sometimes this snow is mixed with the artificial snow from the snow cannons.

Snowproduction in August

This last August Sjusjøen Ski Center was producing snow in 20 degrees celsius, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) reported. Because of this the ski center had a cross-country slope ready for the 19th of November. The production of snow is not very climate friendly, especially not in summer weather. Paradoxically many of the ski centers want to open the season earlier every year.

Villsnø is among many new words in the Norwegian language related to the climate challenges in the world. Askefast (ash-stranded) became a word after the volcano Eyjafjallajökull disrupted the air travel in Europe. Other words include passivhus (passive house), sykkelhotell (bike hotel) and nullutslippssamfunn (zero emission community).

Next week, starting on the 30th of November, the UN´s climate conference is being held in France. Likely some of the above words will be talked about, and maybe also wild snow.

Snow production in Trysil, Norway. Photo Credit: Hans Martin Nysæter/Trysil
Snow production in Trysil, Norway. Photo Credit: Hans Martin Nysæter/Trysil (Flickr)

/ 10 Articles

Katrine Nordeide Kuiper