the Winter

Winter is very long here and with a snow guarantee for many months. What we did not know was that our area has the cold record in Sweden. It is from 1988 when the temperature reached -52 degrees Celsius. We have not yet experienced such extreme frosts and honestly we don’t want to. We can understand from those who experienced it, that it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. So far we have only experienced a single winter and it was actually a mild one. This is our second winter. The coldest day we have experienced so far was last winter when the temperature reached -33 degrees Celsius.

The temperature is usually between -5 and -20 degrees. And the good thing is, that the air is usually dry and you don’t feel that cold in comparison with when it’s very humid air. In humid air you feel cold no matter how much warm clothes you have on – that was almost always in “humid” Copenhagen, while we lived there. The reason why it can get so cold here is the location – our area is the place in Sweden with the greatest distance to the sea coast. Of course, it bites in the cheeks when the temperature drops below -20, but you can still enjoy being outside. Our dogs are also really good at coping with the cold. The breed origins is from Russia and they love the cold more than the heat. Historically, it was not unusual for Borzoisto hunt for wolves and hares at –35 degrees. They choose to lie in the snow themselves and can enjoy themselves in the cold for hours.

The snow typically begins to fall at the end of November and stays until May.

Up in the mountains, the snow is all year round in some areas. Especially in recesses or places where the sun does not reach the groundsurface easily. Another typical thing with local winter is darkness, which many people find it hard to imagine. The shortest days are really short, but both sunrises and sunsets last longer, so to the shortest day length  of 4 hours and 45 minutes you can add one hour of semi-darkness before total darkness in the evening and one hour after night before sunrise. 

But when it’s 3 p.m., it’s dark. Very dark. None of us have had problems with winter depression or general depression when the days get shorter. The light gives energy, but there is something inexplicably magical in the darkness. To take a long walk in biting frost and come home when darkness falls, put more firewood in the stove and light candles. There are moments like these that we really appreciate. And maybe it also helps that the ground is white and not brown and muddy. And then we have a night sky, which is quite impressive because we see it without the slightest hint of artificial light pollution.

You can’t avoid the sense of infinity, with thousands of stars flashing right over your head and the sky is so big that you can see them all. Everyone can enjoy such a sky.

Winter has also challenges. If we suddenly experience some days with temperatures above zero degrees, the roads can become icy and the top layer of ice on the lake turns into water.

During those times it can be both dangerous to drive the car on the roads or use the snowmobile on the lake. Some roads are even closed. Therefore, it is important to always be updated on weather forecast and always have a small supply of food in the house. Snowfalls are also usual here, and it means a lot of snow. We were told that for two years ago some places there was a layer of snow up to 2 meters high. I think we had between 30-100 cm of snow during the winter last year and it seems there will be a similar amount of snow this winter. In general, people who have lived here for a long time, say that winters become warmer and warmer, and this means more snow falls. And the snow will remain some places until the end of May. Orest has his birthday on May 29 and we woke up to a regular snowstorm on his last birthday. 

After 5-6 months of snow many people may think they become tired of snow. But actually it’s not the snow you’re tired of. What I get tired of is actually lack of colors. When the last spring snow began to melt in May, the first views of ground between the trees were so life affirming and it was a pleasure to see the colors again.

I didn’t think at all that missing colors was what became the biggest deprivation through a long and dark winter. April, by the way, is almost everyone’s favorite month here. The sun’s rays are warm, and you don’t need to wear warm clothes and the days are over 12 hours long, and at the same time you can still ski on snow. All months have their positive sides, but feeling the spring warmth and watching the sun high in the sky is a real enjoyment, which anyone can confirm.

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