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Norway moves mountains to bring skiing to the people

Norwegians, the saying goes, are born with skis on their feet. But with a lack of snow and the pandemic this year leaving many in despair, authorities are bringing snow and ski trails to downtown Oslo.

For the past few weeks, big trucks have been dumping hundreds of cubic metres of fluffy white stuff, made by snow cannons perched on the hills outside the capital, in the city’s still-green parks.

Packed down or groomed with cross-country trails, the parks have transformed into winter wonderlands for skiing enthusiasts of all ages: little children on excursions with their daycare groups, active seniors, and office workers taking a break from their work-from-home schedule.

“For three months, we’ve had very strict corona restrictions in Oslo, but we can still go outside,” city councillor Omar Samy Gamal says, as a grooming machine behind him prepares a snowboarding hill in the Torshovdalen park.

“Since we haven’t had a lot of snow this winter, we’re doing what we can to bring it to the people. We’re bringing them a little bit of ‘marka’,” he says.

The word refers to the wooded hills outside Oslo, popular among urban dwellers for long walks, or more frequently, skiing after work or at the weekend.

The first snowfall of the season in early January caused long traffic queues, and, more worryingly during the pandemic, crowded commuter trains.

“We don’t want people packed together. We want them to keep their distance from each other, and the best way to ensure that is to make use of local public spaces,” Gamal says.

Four Oslo parks — including that belonging to the royal palace — have already been or will be partially covered in artificial snow to quench locals’ thirst for sledding and skiing. Read from source….