10. Januar 2016

Ice skating in tailwind

Great timing. A wave of cold temperature and clear skies comes to Sweden precisely when needed. But if it weren’t for the logistics, the wind could have made ice skating impossible. A story in pictures on what the dark and cold winter in Sweden had to offer.

This trip was depending on the weather. The ice decides whether I will go ice skating or not. But the time around after Christmas, when I arrived in Sweden, it became cold and several lakes about 200 kilometers north of Stockholm were frozen sufficiently for ice skating. Fortunately, my friend there has excellent planning skills and the knowledge of when to go where.

And what a day the first day on the ice was. Sunny, windstill, and several smaller lakes inviting us to skate on snow-free ice.

It’s just that so far up north, the sun is barely making it over the horizon in that time of the year, and the long shadows of the trees are telling this story, too.

Windstill and sunny. So it felt much warmer than the several degrees below zero suggested. We found similar conditions on the second day. Black ice. But again, it’s just afternoon and the sun is already saying goodbye.

On the remaining days, we got even further north with less than 400 km left to the arctic circle. No longer windstill. Instead, we got winds of maybe 5-9 m/s and on the open lakes with few hinders, it is really exhausting to work against the wind. Again, my experienced friend came up with clever plans (two cars, drop one off at the destination; take the train) – tailwind for two whole days. Just with the caveat that these whole days were short. This is how an afternoon in December looks like close to Östersund:

But why would I bother about the darkness if there is so much to enjoy during the daylight?