Winter Hygge event returns for night of warmth, fun

By : 
Jordan Gerard

A fun evening event in the twilight snow returns for a second year.

Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trail hosts the second Hygge event on Jan. 19, at 5 p.m., at the Sugar Shack, which is located behind Lane and Mary Zaffke’s home on the third loop of the trail system.

Follow signs for parking near the shack or hike to the event on the trail with or without snowshoes. If starting from the trailhead in town, it’s about a two-mile hike.

Hygge (pronounced “hYOO guh” or “HEU-gah) is a gathering to create warmth, connection and wellbeing, committee member Saundy Solum said. 

“It’s a feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other,” she said. “It’s a family event.”

Hot chocolate, hot dogs and s’mores essentials will be available for roasting on an open fire. A few pairs of snowshoes will be available to use, if the snow holds out.

Once a few people have snow-shoed the trail, those wishing to walk can do so more easily.

The event is free, but free will donations are accepted. Those funds go toward covering food cost and the remainder is used for trail maintenance and improvements.

The trail was vandalized more than a year ago. Several signs were destroyed, bent or broken. Solum said there’s about $2,500 in damage.

The Lions Club donated money to help the replacement of the signs, and the trail committee also received a Thrivent Small Action grant to help too. The signs will be replaced in spring 2019.

Along with socializing and enjoying treats, participants may also have the chance to view the nearly full Wolf Moon, if skies remain clear. 

You should still keep your eyes to the sky the next night (Jan. 20) as well, because the Wolf Moon will be at its fullest. As a bonus, there’s also a lunar eclipse. 

Guests to the Hygge are welcome to stay as long as they would like. Great conversation around the fire, friends and a relaxing night give meaning.

“It’s a simple ritual that gives a feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other,” Solum added.

The first Hygge event was held in 2016, and more than 50 people joined in. All ages were able to enjoy snowshoeing, roasting hot dogs and/or marshmallows and homemade hot chocolate. A Hygge was not held in 2017.

Check out the trail’s website at to see trail maps and more information.