The video below shows ice skaters navigating ‘wet ice’ near Tampere, Finland.
According to the video description, it had recently rained and the ice was soft due to warm temps. That didn’t stop Jarkko Kaura and friends from a beautiful day of skating.
Check out the video below followed by safety tips for Nordic skating:
Jarkko Kaura: “Early season 2019-20 Nordic skating on a lake near Tampere city of Finland. The weather was not attractive for outdoor activities before the trip. It had rained and the ice was expected to be weak and soft due to the high temperature. It took a bit of a rock’n’roll attitude to go out and see what the ice conditions were like. But in the end we found really nice conditions for skating and we got to experience nature in a very unique way.
Finding good ice for skating is not that easy. The most perfect black ice is usually formed at the time of year when it snows a lot. It is challenging to find strong enough ice that is not yet covered by snow. Skating on such ice as shown in this video is often preceded by a rigorous community effort in making and sharing ice observations. Each winter offers different ice and snow conditions, making it impossible to predict the optimal time window several weeks in advance. Most of the time, skating opportunities come with a day or two’s notice and good conditions usually only last a few days or even less than a day until another snowfall hits.
WARNING! Skating on natural ice outside of maintained tracks can be life-threatening if you don’t have the proper safety gear or skills to observe ice thickness and assess safety in ever-changing conditions, or if you’re skating alone. The most important safety measure is to skate with other people who can help if you sink into the ice.
The safety equipment for Nordic skating includes:
– ice claws, for pulling oneself from the water back onto the ice
– ice pole for testing ice strength, sturdier than a regular ski pole (must withstand strokes through thin ice)
– lifeline (rescue cord), which is attached to the shoulder strap of the backpack at shoulder height
– dry bag (inside the backpack) that contains a full set of spare clothes; air is left inside the dry bag so that the backpack floats the skater in the water, making it easier to get back on the ice
– backpack with crotch strap prevents the backpack from riding up on your back when in the water to take full advantage of the backpack’s buoyancy effect
– phone in a waterproof pouch that can be used to call for help
Nordic skating should only be started in an experienced company that knows how to assess the safety of local ice conditions. You may join your local Nordic skating club and participate in their safety training or look for guided tours from commercial operators.”