Photos by Tim Bird, March 2011
Text by Peter Marten
When the winter reaches its coldest and snowiest time, the Finns take it in stride. They make the most out of it by using the frozen ocean as a winter playground.
It’s fun, fascinating and maybe just a little scary to walk over the frozen Baltic Sea. And even more fun to ski over it. You can drill a hole in the ice and go fishing, or visit a site where a larger hole is maintained and go swimming.
Thick ice occasionally disrupts Baltic shipping lanes, but for the rest of us, it brings a sense of adventure and a breath of fresh air. Islands become closer, suddenly just a stroll away, directly across the bay, instead of requiring boats or bridges. When conditions permit, municipal authorities plough ocean ice-skating tracks several kilometres long.
It’s a winter wonderland well worth experiencing if you have the chance.
Remember to use a healthy dose of caution, of course: Don’t go out alone – follow the crowds of locals and be aware that, especially as spring approaches, ice conditions can change and weaken from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour. If the ice looks too thin or you’re otherwise in doubt, just stick to our slideshow.
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