This year we experienced a very early start of the skating season in Värmland county. A long time of high pressure and cold air from the Arctic and Russia gave us exceptional good possibilities. When lakes freeze it happens gradually. The smallest and shallowest lakes with little water flow will freeze first. The land area of Värmland county is slightly smaller than half the size of the Netherlands. Värmland is the landscape of forests, rivers and lakes. There are about 10 000 lakes from small forest lakes to huge lake Vänern. Värmland is used to be called “the country of glittering lakes”. The south western part of the county is exceptional rich of small lake systems connected to each other by rivers and creeks – a wonderland for nordic skating.
It’s very interesting to follow “the succession of lakes freezing from small to big waters”. All possible parameters as local climate, topography (landscape above and below the water surface), altitude, wind, currents, snowy or not etc, affect the icing process. Ice is perishable, it differs in quality from day to day, even in a few hours. This is clearly visible on large windswept lakes.
Before the first snow fall we had a marvellous time to explore the small waters. Snow on ice is the worse case for a nordic skater.
Just before noon we found our first “possible” lake. A wonderful feeling walking out in the frozen marshland covered with rim and realize that the ice was thick enough. Black, transparent ice!!! About 6 – 7 cm.
The temperature was 8 degrees Celcius below zero, but as the sun was shining from a clear blue sky and almost no wind we had a wonderful lunch in the sunshine. The lake needed a few more days of cold to be frozen all over, so we skated round in a little part of it with joy for a while.
We decided to look for some new lakes. A little bay of a bigger lake was skatable. The sound of thin black ice with its different tones is just delightful music. Just before sunset we explored two tiny lakes situated on a higher altitude. The ice was over 10 cm thick.
New day, new experiences! The night had been really cold. Our plan was to investigate lake Sandsjön. By the shore the ice was only 1 cm and out there the lake “steamed”. A sign just before the ice sets. So – our plan didn’t work. BUT – we followed the road along the crevice that formed a smaller lake. And there we were lucky! After checking the thickness of the ice we were ready to skate.
A divine feeling heading the sun towards open water. A big moment of peacefulness and joy.
We skated north into a nature reserve. This area has been inhabited since stone age and you can find a lot of settlements and pitfalls. The reserve was established to preserve, nurture and restore fire affected forests in different successional stages. Brännan
So much to explore in total wilderness without any sounds of human activity.
A new gem by the road that we couldn’t resist – a woodland lake only a circuit of 3 km – well worth for a tour in the sunshine.
The end of these two skating days was more than we could wish. Another rime enveloped forest lake with black ice in the middle of nowhere.
Follow us in search of black ice in our wonderful Nordic Skating country!