23 December 2011

Kick-starting 2012

What with the weather wet and temperatures into double figures, we won't be doing winter sports here in Britain, that's for sure. This time of year always brings back happy memories of snowy times in Norway. Being a bit of a retromaniac in many things, I have a small collection of old-fashioned seasonal greetings cards. Not sure about the date of this one, probably early 1960s? Anyway, I append it here by way of seasonal greetings to all my loyal readers!

Thinking of Norwegian winters reminds me there was an article in the Guardian a week or so ago, on that most excellent means of locomotion, the 'sparkstøtting', or 'spark' for short. Apparently, the official English term is 'kicksled(ge)', though that's the first time I've heard it. I've seen a lot of them in Norway, and I suppose they must be used in other Scandinavian countries, as suggested by the 1890 Swedish drawing below, but I've never seen them anywhere else. But then where else has enough snow? I wonder if they were ever exported to Minnesota?


  1. I had a go on one belonging to friends who live near Leksand in Dalarna. There were quite a few out and about in Leksand itself, too.
    Merry Christmas and Happy 2012!

  2. Happy New Year!

    There's not much snow in Germany, either, except for the Alpine region. I really hope St.Peter will remember it's winter one of these days. ;)

  3. Anonymous3/1/12 04:36

    First I've heard of it, but it looks fun. Godt nyttaar!

    To answer your question:

  4. Thanks for the link, Anon. Looks like a recent import then.

  5. A Swedish friend of mine once related a visit she made to distant relatives in Minnesota. At one stage, in a museum, they showed her an old wooden sledge that their Scandinavian ancestors had used to get around in winter. She was too embarrassed to tell them that she routinely used an almost identical spark every year back home in Jämtland.

  6. I used a spark to get to school during the winter of 1966 when I lived in Baerum (outside Oslo). Very cool! I'd love to have one now in Door County Wisconsin.

  7. Here's a nice picture of two kids with kick-sleds in 1922: http://www.flickr.com/photos/swedish_heritage_board/8260180807/in/photostream/