Stay safe and explore confidently this winter with these useful apps and tips for the Norwegian outdoors
Outdoor blog: by Ute Koninx - iventureout.com (photo from Hjelp 113)

Stay safe and explore confidently this winter with these useful apps and tips for the Norwegian outdoors

With winter now upon us, there is still much to discover around Stavanger on foot. The generally milder winters on the West Coast of Norway here mean that we can get the best of both worlds. With warm clothing and crampons (in case you are going up hills), you can go and enjoy a winter wonderland, but you can also stay near the coast and beaches and not worry about ice and snow. Stavanger and Rogalands’ varied landscapes do offer outdoor pursuits for everyone!
27.November 2023 Ute Koninx

With winter now upon us, there is still much to discover around Stavanger on foot. The generally milder winters on the West Coast of Norway here mean that we can get the best of both worlds. With warm clothing and crampons (in case you are going up hills), you can go and enjoy a winter wonderland, but you can also stay near the coast and beaches and not worry about ice and snow. Stavanger and Rogaland’s varied landscapes do offer outdoor pursuits for everyone

 

It is important though to be aware of what the weather and road conditions are in the area you want to explore. Luckily there are a number of really very useful apps in Norway to help you plan for the weather and the roads, and even quickly get help to you should you be in need. In this blogpost we introduce some important ones. All of them are free or have a free version.

 

yr.no is a website and an app (“yr”) that is really very useful. It is brought to you for free by the TV station NRK and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. They provide weather data world wide, but it is particularly accurate for the Nordic countries. For a given Nordic location, the map view will give you information on weather, precipitation and wind. They also incorporate weather warnings for any location in Norway. You will find information on tides, sunrise and sunset, water temperatures at different locations, air pollution information as well as UV and Aurora forecasts. There is a lot there to give you tools for planning your outing.  Both app and website have an English language option.

 

varsom.no  is a website and app (“varsom”) that provides warning and information service for avalanches, landslides, ice conditions and floods. It is provided by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) in co-operation with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. It allows you to see any warnings or forecasts for avalanches, landslides, ice and flooding. It also provides you with a current risk assessment for any area around Norway. The user interface might need a bit of getting used to, but this is a great tool, when there is inclement weather and you want to understand better what is going on. Both app and website have an English language option.

Note the disclaimer! You are using the warnings and data at your own risk and need to make your own evaluation. NVE states that there is always the risk that data might be faulty or missing; see their Terms of Service for more information.

 

vegvesen.no (website) and “vegvesen traffikk” (app) are provided by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA). You can choose English as a language on the website. It gives you information on traffic and road works, closures, the status of mountain passes and roads that are exposed to rough weather, general driving conditions and much more. As always it is good to familiarise yourself with the information before you actually need to use it.

 

Hjelp 113 is an app, also in English, to use in case of emergency. If you need to make an emergency call, your location is automatically submitted to a database, that the alarm operator can access. Your data is encrypted and securely handled. In addition you can use it for non-emergency situations to get information on nearest medical care, or even to inform the police or “Vegvesen” on dangerous road situations. For the Hjelp-113 service to work, you need to be inside Norway and your phone number needs to be registered in the app. It is possible to register a non-Norwegian phone number, but you do need to be in Norway to do so. Outside of Norway it appears to suggest the local emergency number to call (though I have not tested this extensively). Hopefully you would never need this app, but it is a very useful one to have downloaded onto your phone. Mobile coverage is not guaranteed, but is improving every year even in the more remote locations of the country. Be mindful that while help will come once you call, it does take time to do so. Therefore it is important to be prepared for the wait. In winter, bringing an extra warm layer with you, some food and a hot drink are never a bad idea to take along in the backpack.

 

Stay safe this winter and enjoy those magical moments in the Norwegian outdoors this holiday season. There is something special and unique about those short crispy days with their glorious, nordic light.

 

For more information on what you need for hiking in Rogaland and what to expect in the different seasons, you can find out more in our book ‘Hiking Lysefjord and Beyond - day trips in the Stavanger Region’. See https://iventureout.com/lysefjord-and-beyond.

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