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6 women icebathing

Photo by Hopp i Ranfjorden

While some try to keep warm in the winter, others gather to “bath in delicious slush”. At Åneset in the district of Båsmo, a regular group gathers, every Sunday at 11:00 all year round, to bathe together.

It all started with Bente Fagerthun and Maiken Aasebøstøl swimming on a late August day in 2020. They agreed to meet weekly for a bath, to see how long they could extend the bathing season. Eventually it expanded to meeting two to three times a week, but for Bente Fagerthun, it eventually became a daily bath.

It’s incredibly refreshing, gives a lot of energy, gives a feeling of mastery, gives an enormous amount of joy, gives health effects and it’s social

The active Facebook group “Hopp i Ranfjorden” has 80 members. Some bathe occasionally, while others would like to, but haven’t stepped over the threshold yet. But every Sunday at At 11:00 there is a fixed group of 8-10 people who meet to bath, whatever the season and weather.

Icebathing with umbrella and floaties

Photo by Hopp i Ranfjorden

In fact, the gang baths the most during the “ice bathing season”, that is when the water is below 10 degrees. Swimming in the winter presents some challenges, such as sawing and axing your way through ice to be able to swim, dipping between ice floes or in delicious slush, or getting dressed in minus 23 degrees.

Some think we’re crazy, some think we’re tough and some wish they dared to do it themselves

Because being crazy and tough, and starting to say phrases like “bathing in delicious slush”, has some effects that can help you keep warm, increase the feeling of mastery and boost your immune system. When taking an ice bath, the body temperature drops quite quickly and the blood vessels constrict. When you get out of the water and into warm clothes, the blood vessels dilate and the blood flows back into the body. When this happens, you get a delicious warmth that spreads throughout your body. This strengthens the blood circulation and many get better blood circulation. Taking an ice bath puts the immune system on alert, and the number of white blood cells increases, which can lead to a strengthened immune system.

These challenges mean that it is wise to be prepared. Bring shoes to swim in, preferably trainers with woolen socks or neoprene if you have one. And you should bring something to stand on when changing, and warm clothes for afterwards. And of course towel and swimwear. You should also follow the ice bath etiquette: don’t bathe alone, don’t bathe for too long, don’t go under and change as soon as you get out of the water.

The ice bathers is currently working on a project to set up a changing booth on the beach in Åneset. The application to the municipality has been granted, and funds are now being sought to complete the project during the spring. They hope this will lower the threshold for those who want to try ice bathing.

 

Icebathing with a flamingo floatie

Photo by Hopp i Ranfjorden

Everyone is welcome to join, regardless of whether they are experienced ice bathers or not. Of the regular ice bathers, some are in their third season, some have just started and some are in between. They are an inclusive and nice group, who want more ice bathers and who are also no strangers to animal floaties!

If you are curious about ice bathing, visit the Hopp i Ranfjorden website and follow them on social media!