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Fat bikes in the Nordmarka forest (photo: Visit Oslo)

In Scandinavia, February is the new Easter

The traditional winter break in February is now the time to use the last of the winter snows, not Easter.

As climate change intensifies, holidays are changing in Scandinavia. Less snow at Easter means that the traditional winter break in February is taking over in the region for skiing and winter sports.

Parts of Scandinavia where you would have expected good winter conditions already have only a thin layer of snow, and the ski tracks are described as “sticky”, the Norwegian news agency NTB reports.

The winter holiday this week already feels unusually mild, melting the ski runs in southern Norway – and the weather will get milder in years to come, experts say.

“This is more like the weather we see in the Easter holidays, where the snow has started to melt and it is bare in several places,” meteorologist Aslaug Skålevik Valved tells NTB.

“February has been unusually warm. At the same time, the winters in eastern Norway have been unusually mild each year for the last five years,” confirms climate scientist Jostein Mamen.

“This means that the winter holiday is taking over as a departure period because there are better snow conditions. When Easter comes, it is too warm with little snow.”

Past snow
Ten years ago, by contrast, it was minus four degrees in Oslo with up to 67cm of snow at the end of the winter holidays.

“It is natural to see the mild winters in the context of global warming. In general, we expect mild winters to come. Only now and then will we get winters of a good old-fashioned calibre,” says Mamen.

New temperature records for February were set seven days ago in Hordaland and Oppland, with 14.3 degrees in Etne and 13.3 degrees in Bjorli. On the same day, 17.6 was measured in the village of Linge, east of Ålesund.

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