Saturday, January 07, 2012

Local Newspaper: Not cold enough

An article in the local newspaper tells us that skating conditions in the town are lousy. The indoor ice for skating is obviously in good shape, but it hasn't been cold enough for the outdoor skating rinks on the various fields around town. On warm days the ice has melted away. And the lakes, rivers and the sea has not frozen properly either. The storm broke the ice and pushed it into pack ice, which is impossible to skate on.
Ice on the river at the dam bridge

On the other side of the ice things are going pretty much as usual. See these videos on vimeo: Ice Fishing and Human balloon. Not something you see every day? Apparently these videos are were made by a bunch of local divers, which got them mentioned in the local newspaper.

See how they are wearing expensive special gear for cycling diving. Why are they overcomplicating things? I mean why didn't they just dive wearing their normal swimming clothes? I swim every summer wearing just swimming trunks, or less. And all that scuba gear! I can dive without scuba gear just fine, for about 10 seconds. And even the swimmers are not without their infrastructure: they've got all kinds of swimming pools and stuff.

But here's the catch: In the summer swimmers can be everywhere. I very rarely see swimmers outside during the winter. The only places I've seen them is when someone has cut a hole in the ice for them. Just like cyclists, they benefit from infrastructure, and in the winter the benefit is exponentially increased and might be the only thing that makes swimming or cycling possible.
The ice swimming hole is kept open by the bubbles/ water jets.
See the ice swimming hole in the above photo. A nice platform with ladders in the far end to get in and out of the water easily. It's very difficult to get out of the hole without ladders, and the beach will freeze up so you can't just walk out. On the day of the photo was taken, there were notes telling people to not use it due to the danger of getting hit by fast moving vehicles getting squeezed by floes getting loose from the packs of ice upstream. Once the river freezes or the ice floats have passed it'll be opened again.

The platform is at the beach pretty much in the middle of the city. In the sunny days in the summer, the beach is crowded. In the winter, there wouldn't be anyone swimming if it wasn't for the platform. Likewise, bikeways are essential for winter cycling!

Yes, this post was made to promote those videos. :-)

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