Get Chilled & Embrace Norwegian Love of ‘Friluftsliv’

Greater Prescott is known around the state and country for not being Phoenix. For being delightfully livable in the summer and for being the one thing the sprawling Valley can’t be in the colder months: a winter wonderland.

This reality steers many desert-dwellers away from our communities, but they don’t know what they’re missing as they huddle inside when the mercury tumbles below 65 degrees or so.

The Scandinavians call it “friluftsliv,” a mashup of the Norwegian words for “free,” “air” and “life” that’s been attached to a dedication to open-air living while leaving nature undisturbed. Given the Scandinavian climate, the implied subtitle for this is: “No matter how cold it gets.”

The term and what it represents has taken off in the U.S. over the past year-plus as much of our recreation has been moved to the great outdoors for safety’s sake, leading many who didn’t already know to discover just how awesome it feels to be there.

Now that we’re moving deep into the fall season and ever closer to winter it’s time to reaffirm our commitment to friluftsliv when we’re freezing — whatever that means to us.

  • Fill in the gaps in your winter wardrobe so you and your family will be prepared for all of these new adventures. As the Norwegians joke, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”
  • Plan a weekend camping trip at one of the sites in Prescott National Forest that doesn’t shut down after Halloween, which includesYavapai Campground in Granite Basin or White Spar, though availability there is limited in the winter.
  • Get into birdwatching around Watson, Willow and Goldwater lakes.
  • Put a hammock or two up in your backyard. Now.
  • Set up an al fresco office with a great view, wherever you can find one.
  • Hike a trail you do all the time in summer, but never do in winter (but be careful when it’s muddy or wet).
  • Stroll through the drive-thru “Valley of Lights” display in Prescott Valley’s Fain Park on the designated night, currently scheduled for Nov. 30.