Now it seems we have said goodbye to this year’s snow (finally), it feels like the right time to ponder its meaning.

Sny is the Lofoten word for snow. In Norway, we actually have almost 100 different expressions for this word. When you live in a world where snow controls everyday life you need to communicate the exact nature of what’s going on outside and “it’s snowing” simply doesn’t cut the mustard.

The snowy life in the Lofoten archipelago is held dearly to heart by us Norwegians, but can also be challenging at times, its breathtaking and magical appearance sometimes has us completely enchanted, but its wild and unforeseen nature has also taught us to tread carefully when winter arrives.

So we have many words to express the many variants of snow precisely, as it is such an important part of our day. Expressions of sny have been created depending, for instance, on the way it is falling, lying and its consistency. 

There is a type of sny that we describe as almost being cuddly, which goes by the moniker of kram. Then there is the rough, heavy, wind-bourne snykov. Or the fun-to-say, not-so-fun-to-be-in sludd: rainy, wet and miserable. The lightest and most delicate puddersny, however, which we saw a lot this winter, feels like pure peace.

Here are a few more of our favourites:

Snøkrystaller = snowcrystals

Snyfiller = large snowflakes, up to 3 cm wide

Snyfokk = windy snow, often drifting horizontal

Snyskavl = snow cornice

Skare = wet snow that has frozen on the ground and became hard

Heideskav = light snow that is drifting, but spread out