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Gay couple Dag Terje Solvang and Bent Høie about to go hiking with pride in the mountains in Troms, Northern Norway
Gay couple Dag Terje Solvang and Bent Høie about to go hiking with pride in the mountains in Troms, Northern Norway
Dag Terje Solvang and Bent Høie.
Photo: Marius Dalseg
Bent Høie and Dag Terje Solvang.
Photo: Marius Dalseg
Hiking with pride

Find love in the mountains

Magic might happen when you hike in Norway, especially if you wear the green beanie for singles or the rainbow-coloured Pride beanie. The gay head of The Norwegian Trekking Association, Dag Terje Solvang, shares his tips for both flirting and trails.

“I believe in the outdoors as an arena for flirting”, says Dag Terje Solvang, secretary-general of The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT). “I call it ‘sustainable’ to get to know someone you like in the mountains rather than in a bar, and hiking has proved a welcome replacement for the usual dating apps. You also have a greater chance of meeting someone when you share the same, healthy interest.”

The Trekking Association’s rainbow-patterned Pride beanie (“Regnbuelua” in Norwegian) is being torn away from the shop shelves. Many want to signal freedom and inclusion in nature. The headwear is a follow-up of the wildly popular green “Single beanie” (“Singellua”) that has been a hit with hikers who are not in a relationship. And by the way – an exclusive version of the green beanie has a red-coloured inside so that you can flip it inside out to quickly update your status if you find love in the mountains.

Dag Terje Solvang, secretary-general of The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT)
Dag Terje Solvang.
Photo: Monica Langen

Dag Terje, who is married to Norway’s Minister of Health, Bent Høie, has been an avid mountain hiker for years. His experience is that same-sex couples are greeted with smiles everywhere they go and are well received at all places to stay in the mountains. “People in Norway are generally very cool about people of the same sex showing their love. Scandinavia is widely known for its liberal attitudes, and the Pride beanie is an example of how Norwegian society goes further than our neighbouring countries.”

LGBTQ hiking groups

“The Pride beanie has made hiking in Norwegian nature even more exciting. And if you want to be with like-minded people from the start, you are welcome to join independent dedicated tour groups. Two of the most popular are ‘Fjellgruppen’ for men who like men who like mountains, and ‘Lesbisk turlag’ for women who like women who like to hike. Besides, The Norwegian Trekking Association arranges guided tours for everyone”, Dag Terje says, and adds:

Hiking and flirting in Norway is a fast-growing trend”. In 2018, the association organised the event #helenorgedaterute, which can be translated into “The whole country is dating in the great outdoors”. They have even made up a few humorous rules on how to hit on someone when hiking in the mountain flirting code (see fact box below).

“The transgender psychologist Silje-Håvard Bolstad puts it in a lovely way: ‘In the mountains, it doesn’t matter what gender you are.’ And our own Queen Sonja has stated that your problems are left behind down in the valley when all you think about is where to put your foot next”, Dag Terje says.

The Norwegian Trekking Association has more than 320,000 members and is rapidly increasing its popularity among young people. In fact, the youth organisation DNT Ung is the second largest Norwegian youth association – after organised football.

Mountain pride festivals

Not only can wearing the Pride beanie lead to new relationships, it is also a great accessory for the many Pride festivals and events offered at high altitudes​. Like the Vinje Pride that takes place in Jotunheimen every summer.

“In Norway, we now have a pride festival in almost every little place, and that is absolutely fantastic”, Dag Terje says.

But wait – how sexy are they really, those sweaty mountain hikers?

“Perhaps the people you meet are a bit hot and sweaty, but at the same time, sports underwear reveals body shapes. It may help you focus. The many Norwegian Trekking Association cabins are probably the only places where nobody raises an eyebrow when you sit down for a communal dinner in your underwear”, Dag Terje laughs.

“In Norway, we often say that hiking in nature equals good health, and it’s also healthy to find someone to love.”

The gay couple Eystein Opdøl and Jan Håvard Knee are the hosts at Renndølsetra in Innerdalen, Fjord Norway
The gay couple Eystein Opdøl and Jan Håvard Knee are the hosts at Renndølsetra in Innerdalen.
Photo: Thomas Rasmus Skaug / Visitnorway.com

    Dag Terje’s top 3 hiking tips

  1. 1. East of Stavanger

    Hunnedalen–Tomannsbu–Støle–Kvitlen–Stavtjørn

    “An unforgettable trip in the immediate area of where we have our own private cabin. Along the protected Bjerkreim watercourse, with untouched nature and historical monuments.”

  2. 2. South-west of Trondheim

    Trollheimen

    “Through Gjevilvassdalen, Innerdalen, Storlidalen, Jøldalen, and Folldalen you walk through one beautiful postcard-perfect landscape after another. Considered by many hikers as some of Norway’s most beautiful valleys.”

  3. 3. Troms

    Fiskefjorden–Haakonsbu/Hinnøya

    “Haakonsbu is located in beautiful Johnsheimen, a key area for outdoor recreation at Hinnøya in Troms.”

The mountain flirting code

1. Feel free to start flirting without sufficient experience. Practice makes perfect!

2. Inform others about the route you have selected to ensure that you can meet again.

3. Respect the beanie colour code. Green beanie means “single”, red means “in a relationship”, orange indicates that you “might be open for contact”, and rainbow colours means LGBTIQ+.

4. Get stranded by the weather and get an extra day to meet that special one.

5. Always bring plenty of snacks for sharing. The way to the heart is often through the stomach.

6. Listen to experienced mountain flirters.

7. Bring a map and a compass so that you can ask someone how to use it.

8. Do not hike alone, invite others to join you.

9. Turn around in time and don’t be ashamed to ask someone for their phone number.

10. Don’t be stingy with your smiles and laugh at bad jokes if necessary.

The mountain flirting code is an adaptation of the Norwegian mountain code.

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