Some of my best childhood memories from Norway are of spending almost every weekend from December to April at our family cabin in the mountains.
When we got there, us kids would start playing outside right away while our parents dug out the snow to let us into the cabin and started warming it up inside. Meanwhile, we were having so much fun outside! We’d only come inside for meals and when it got too dark.
Every day the whole family went either cross country or downhill skiing. When we got back to the cabin, we’d spend hours making the perfect slide down the hill behind the cabin. We watered it every night to make it extra fast, too! When the snow was deep enough, we’d jump from the roof and land in the soft snow outside the kitchen window. What fun!
The temperature those days rarely climbed over 25 °F - often much colder. Yet I don’t remember being cold too much - except for my toes! My parents knew enough to put me in a wool base layer – longs and an undershirt from the itchy days before we discovered magical merino wool – but on my feet they couldn’t have made a worse mistake if they had tried!
For some reason, they insisted I wear cotton socks under my thick knit wool socks, and then I’d squeeze into ski boots I had outgrown. I could barely wiggle my toes in there, and as soon as the first snowflake found its way down my boot, melting to make my tennis socks even the slightest bit wet, my toes turned to icicles!
In Norway we have an expression that goes “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”. Those tennis socks and overly tight boots were the perfect example of bad clothing. But we were happy, and didn’t know any better. When the cold got too bad, we would take off our boots and socks and rub warmth into our toes. If we were on one of our ski trips, my dad might make a little fire for coffee and hotdogs, and we would warm our toes over the flames. When I discovered modern merino wool socks a little later in life, I could hardly believe it!
The lessons of a Norwegian winter are pretty simple, and the number one rule is that wool keeps you warm, dry, and cozy! If you need to keep your kid (or yourself!) warm this summer, take a look at our infographic - a step-by-step guide to layering, winterizing, and preparing for the cold weather!
I hope you make some great memories of your own this winter!