Ice Skating in Oslo and Norway – Frozen Fjords and Lakes

Wintertime in Norway means frozen sea and lakes, which creates great opportunities for ice skating and walking. Especially in Norway’s capital, there are many lakes and fjords that offer that possibility, apart from man-made ice rinks. Check the details for ice skating in Oslo, and safe ice skating in Norway on frozen fjords and lakes.

It’s this time of year again – winter in Norway. With crispy air, frosty trees, squeaky snow and temperatures way below zero. These are perfect conditions for fun on the ice.

Since this year hasn’t shown many opportunities for travel abroad (reminds me of fun-filled 2020), I keep looking for activities to do around the area where I live, which is Oslo. Luckily, apart from many awesome day trips from Oslo and Oslo hiking trails, there is also a lot of fun things to do in Oslo in winter. Ice skating is definitely one of them. But where to ice skate in Oslo and how to do it safely?

Ice skating in Oslo (and Norway)

Oslo and many other Norwegian cities offer great ice skating opportunities. From prepared ice rinks in the city to wild skating in nature – there’s plenty to choose from.

This year, many usually popular ice skating rinks in Oslo are closed. As an alternative, the city of Oslo has prepared several skating areas, so residents can skate in their local area. Here are some of them: 

  • Asperuddumpa
  • Bjerkedalen
  • Blåfjell friområde (“Leker’n”)
  • Brenna ballplass
  • Bråtan grusbane
  • Ekeberg grusbane
  • Godalsparken
  • Grorud idrettspark
  • Grünerhagen
  • Grønsund friområde
  • Hovseter ballbane
  • Kampen
  • Lambertseter grus
  • Lysaker nord
  • Mortensrud kunstgress
  • Nordre Åsen
  • Rosenholm skole friområde
  • Smestadparken
  • Stallerudveien friområde
  • St. Hanshaugen
  • Tokerud/Vestlibanen
  • Tonsenhagen skoleidrettsplass
  • Torshovdalen
  • Trolldalen
  • Bøler skolebane

For more information check the Oslo city Facebook page.

Ice skating on the frozen sea and frozen lakes in Oslo

But what I really like is skating on natural water sources, such as lakes or the sea. It’s riskier and requires more preparation and knowledge, but it is also much more rewarding. Imagine sliding through the steel ice on the lake surrounded by the forest or having kilometres of frozen seawater to skate on the fjord!

Some of the top locations for ice skating in the Oslo area in the wild are (only in the safe conditions, see below):

  • Sognsvann
  • Bogstadvannet
  • Nøklevann
  • Østensjøvannet
  • Maridalsvannet
  • Fjord water between Sandvika and Fornebu (NOT the whole area)

And if you’re looking for frozen waterfalls, check out ice climbing in Rjukan and the magical ice cave in Fåvang

Ice skating on the frozen sea and frozen lakes in Norway – safety

Before you step on the frozen lake or sea, you need to take safety precautions. Falling into ice-cold water is surely unpleasant, but can also be health- and life-threatening, so always go prepared.

Disclaimer: I’m not an ice expert, I just share what I know. Do your own research before going on ice.

Check ice conditions

The first thing is to check suitable ice conditions. Typically, this should be done by experienced people who would drill into the ice and check its thickness. Safe skating conditions are with the ice that is at least 10 cm (4 inches) thick. 

The thickness and safety of the ice can wary from place to place, so if you are going onto the unknown area, only go with someone experienced.

A good place to get a general understanding of the ice is iskart.no. It’s a map covering the whole of Norway. However, it’s based on public entries and people can be wrong sometimes. And remember that conditions can change quickly. 

In the popular ice areas, local authorities normally check the conditions and let the public know. Currently, the authorities in Baerum marked out the safe skating trail from Sandvika to Fornebu. Follow the Christmas trees in the ice. Unfortunately, many people ignore safer barriers and end up falling into ice which is thinner on the sides. For more information about the ice conditions you can call information telephone in Baerum: 800 81 818. More info here

Safety equipment and clothes

If you decide to venture out onto the frozen water, take safety equipment with you.

  • Ice spikes (ispigger) are the minimum – they help you to pull yourself out of the hole since the ice around is slippery. 
  • A whistle can be useful for calling for help.
  • A rescue rope that is attached to your backpack. 
  • A backpack fastened to your body with a change of clothes in a waterproof bag. 
  • For being on the ice, it’s also useful to have helmet and elbow/knees protectors, as well as skating pole. 

Learn the correct routine

It’s safer to go on the ice with more people. If you spread out, there is less chance that more than one person will fall into the water and then your companions can rescue you quicker.

You also need to learn the correct technique for getting out of the water. The main idea is to stay calm and paddle your feet, instead of trying to pull yourself straight up. Then crawl onto the ice until you can feel it’s stronger. As a general rule, go to a direction you came from since you know the ice there. I made a story highlight on my Instagram showing these techniques. You can check it here.

Your safety is your responsibility

Remember that your safety is your responsibility and you should always research the area very well before trying risky activities such as ice skating on the frozen lakes or fjords. There is no safe ice, but only a safe ice skater/walker. But when done correctly, it’s so much fun!

 

Read more about Norway:

Where to Stay in Oslo – The Best Hotels in Oslo

Ice Church – Magical Ice Cave Near Oslo

The best things to do in Oslo in winter

Rjukan ice climbing and other things to do on a day trip from Oslo 

Norway on a budget – locals’ tips for cheap travel in Norway 


Have you tried ice skating in Oslo? Have you ever ice skated or walked on frozen sea or lakes? Let me know in the comments!


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