Even though November has, after a chilly late October, been surprisingly mild so far, the first public open air ice skating rinks in Tallinn are set to open this coming weekend, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported on Thursday.
Statistics from several Tallinn ice rinks demonstrate that the desire to skate is higher early on in winter, when the season is still seen as a novelty, than in February, when winter fatigue has set in.
This is the case even amid the current, mild temperatures.
The thermometer measured plus eight degrees in on Wednesday, where the final preparations were being made at an outdoor rink in Lasnamäe, East of the city center.
Vladimir Jakovlev, who oversees the facility, said: "We started laying down the ice about five days ago. We are essentially now pouring out the last layer, after which the ice will be ready, barring a few small details."
Each layer takes about 90 minutes to two hours to create, he said.
Fred Randver, manager of the same rink, noted that this is the earliest in the year outdoor rinks have been set up in Tallinn, though this is hardly without precedent in the wider world – Manhattan's near-legendary Wollman rink opened in October, even as it is about 15 degrees there during the daytime even now.
Thanks to a fall in electricity prices, running ice rinks is more affordable than in previous years, Randver added.
So far this refers to leisure skaters, but the more serious business of using the 400m Härma Stadium Skating Rink in Pirita
is more weather dependent.
Priit Aunroos, manager of the Pirita Sports Center, said that the 4,000 square meter area also means creating ice is cost-efficient only when optimum temperatures are reached, though these need not be sub-zero; plus 4-5 degrees are in fact the best, he said.
Last winter, the arrival of the snow and colder weather in November meant the Härma rink was open at the start of December. Sometimes this does not happen, and speed skaters have to wait until the new year for low enough temperatures.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mari Peegel
Source: AK, reporter Hanneli Rudi.