The conditions have to be just right. About 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) north of Helsinki, November temperatures had been low enough for long enough for Lake Ylläs to freeze solid, but it hadn’t snowed yet.
The ice was still smooth and transparent, and that day the air was just warm enough that some passing clouds dropped a sprinkling of rain instead of covering the ice with a blanket of white snow.
Figure skater Tiina Pakkanen seems to glide across the water of Lake Ylläs in northern Finland.Video: Esko Liukas
Photographer Esko Liukas – his surname, which means “slippery,” is a nom de plume, or actually a nom de patin – had been out previously to check the ice, as he told numerous Finnish media outlets. He put out a call on Instagram for a figure skater to record a video, and Tiina Pakkanen responded. Her last name fittingly means “frost,” and it’s her true name.
When they went to film the segment, a rain shower left a thin layer of water on the clear ice. Together with the transparency of the ice, the reflection and ripples created the illusion that Pakkanen was cutting turns on unfrozen liquid rather than solid ice.
Kids of all ages, don’t try this at home (grown-ups, you should already know better). Esko Liukas and Tiina Pakkanen have the right surnames for this kind of thing, and they also bored holes in the ice to test its thickness and performed multiple other checks before heading out. It takes many days of super-low temperatures before the ice forms and becomes strong enough. Esko is a professional with many years of experience in the northern Finnish outdoors as a photographer, ski instructor and guide.
By ThisisFINLAND staff, November 2020