“From 1854 onward a yearly market shall be held in Roros, commencing the second to last Tuesday in the month of February, and lasting until the following Friday.”
Oscar I, King of Sweden and Norway.
In May 2019, when my daughter Katie and I were visiting my grandfather’s hometown of Lima, Sweden, near the Norwegian border, we traveled narrow country roads, passing two-hundred-year-old log farm buildings. We could see within the buildings old wooden sleds. Surrounding the area of Darlarna are many lakes and rivers.
For several years, in February I have seen on Facebook curious videos of rustic, fur-clad men and women driving wooden sleighs in deep winter snow. Now I have discovered how all of this has come together.
In February every year, the Dalarna Femund Drivers Association makes a traditional, historic reenactment of the ten-day journey to Rorosmartnan, the market in Roros, Norway, 165 miles away. They pass through the towns of Salen, Sorsjon, Drosbacken, Lomviken, Sorken, Storbekken, Tufsingdalen, Korssjoen to the Roros Market.
Dalarna Femund Drivers’ Association is a Swedish/Norwegian Association that preserves the Nordic driving culture. Before there were roads, it was only in winter that good could be shipped. Frozen lakes and marshes were utilized to reach markets and cities. Their major annual activity is the trip to the Roros Market in February.
In the town of Flotningen, the association has a historic farm where they keep the sleds and care for the horses.
This week, the annual trip to Rorosmartnan begans on 9 February at Vastagarden, Torgas, Lima, Sweden. This is the location of the Lima Local Historical Society at a unique farm owned by the same family since the 1780s. They camp at Salen.
Monday 10 February, Lake Sorjson.
Saturday 15 February, Sorken Vestre, Femundsenden.
Monday 17 February, Tufsingdalen
Tuesday 18 February, Roros. More than 60,000 tourists will visit the market and participate in the gathering of other Nordic drivers associations.
That is a ten-day journey across frozen lakes and rivers. Winter can be brutal here. At each campsite participants share stories and song with visitors.
The destination of Roros, Norway, is a city of 6,000, with eighty 17th-18th century wooden houses: a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Roros was historically used by the Southern Sami People (the indigenous people of Sweden) for reindeer herding. Silver and copper were discovered here, creating a flourishing mining community. Author Johan Falkenberget captures the difficult life for the copper miners in his novels.