The sun is shining and there is a buzz of excitement and apprehension in the air. Guests and staff are congregating outside the front door, towels in hand. Today we are going to do something brave!
After a short drive along Panoramavegen we pull up by a winding path, leading us through the grasses, colourful mosses and coniferous trees. Our intrepid group are getting increasingly nervous, but Alex assures us “it will feel amazing”. Step by step, the roar of water becomes louder and louder, until we arrive at our destination: the waterfall!
The river, flowing with freshly melted snow, is gushing down the rocks where it creates a deep pool of water. So deep in fact, you could jump in from the three meter high ledge just to its side...
As we all reach the waterfall, a silence of realization spreads through the group. This is it. But is it safe? How cold is it? How will we make ourselves jump? There are jokes and playful encouragement but no one wants to be the first. But without even a second’s pause Alex jumps from the ledge and is totally engulfed by the water. No one blinks. To our relief just as quickly as he disappeared, he bursts out of the water, smiling ear to ear.
And so we do it! One by one we jump from the ledge into the icy river, each emerging with an equally huge grin and a rush of adrenaline coursing through our veins.
This has become a Nøsen rite of passage! For every guest that visits, the offer of an Icy adventure stands (no matter the weather). Nothing quite wakes you up or invigorates you like a dip in the cool, fresh waters of the Norwegian mountains. And don’t worry if it’s the jump holding you back, the Storfjorden lake is an equally energizing spot for a plunge...
Cold Water Is Good For Your Health Too!
But we’re not just doing it for the rush. Ancient traditions and recent scientific research have found there are numerous health benefits to be had from short, sharp cold exposure. Here is a quick run down of just a few:
- It reduces inflammation throughout your body. A study found that after as few as four dips in cold water reduced inflammation in inexperienced winter swimmers. Throughout their bodies, the level of inflammatory markers, called cytokines, were reduced.
- It helps alleviate depression. Inflammation is now looking like one of the main causes behind depression. Because cold-water swimming reduces systemic inflammation, it is being heralded as a brilliant, natural treatment. Real trials with patients are underway in the UK, with very promising results.
- The confidence boost. If you’re jumping into icy water, you are brave. Full stop. This is knowledge you can carry with you to any aspect of your life and know that you can take that leap of faith and be okay.
- Focusing the mind. Try to think of something other than the sensation of your body reacting to the cold. Just try. We promise nothing will keep you more present! The unusual experience and the adrenaline heighten your awareness immensely.
- The energy boost. It may not be as delicious as coffee, but boy does it blast away that groggy, afternoon dip in energy.
- Fewer colds and flu. A recent study in the UK found regular sea-swimmers suffered significantly less respiratory infections during the winter, such as colds and flu, than those who regularly swim indoors. Now that’s convinced you, hasn’t it?
This is really just a few -- the list could go on and on! But the question remains, do you think you’ll be brave enough?