Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Nordic skating season is upon us

The weather took a turn for the better during Christmas and got colder. No snow, but the forest trails soon froze, making for excellent fatbiking. The continuing low temperatures combined with no snow also made way for something not often easily possible: skating on lakes and the sea, so called Nordic skating. During a cold winter the skating season continues further out on the sea, but the ice closer to land gets too much snow. The closest lake (a little over 1 km away), Littoistenjärvi, is a shallow lake which is one of the first to get ice and hence the first skating trip took place on December 30th, just two days before my kayaking season ended.

Most of the lake had 8-9 cm ice, which is quite safe. The ice was smooth and nice.

The entire lake was still not safe and in places the ice thickness was clearly less than 5 cm, which is generally considered a good limit, below which you shouldn't usually go.

The skating was great on almost perfect ice.

After this we had two days of warmer weather and a light snowfall, but the skating season continued. I went to Raseborg for some lake skating in a nice landscape, on lakes I had skied on as a kid.

The cold weather continued and got even colder with temperatures down to -26C, so the sea ice also started to get better. On Saturday January 9th we decided to check it out. The plan was to do an almost 30 km long route around the Kakskerta island, but it turned out that the ice wasn't good enough for that, Closer to land the ice was generally 7-9 cm, but there were enough surprises to keep the speed down (checking the ice thickness takes some time, even though my ice pike is good enough to allow me to do it in one blow). Further out the ice was thinner and at one point we had to return and choose another route, since the ice started to be clearly under 5cm everywhere around us. Still, the skating was great and it was a beautiful day.

Though I do ride my bikes (I even was on a chilly overnighter a few days ago), currently the number one activity is skating. The skating season is generally quite short (at least nearby) and ends when the snow comes, which could possibly be next week, depending on the amount of snow that actually falls.

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