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Plummeting temperatures make for ideal lake ice skating in Estonia

People skating on Pühajärv.
People skating on Pühajärv. Source: ERR

The very cold weather of recent days has created ideal skating conditions on many of Estonia's lakes, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Wednesday.

Skaters came from far and wide to Pühajärv, Valga County, just outside Estonia's winter capital Otepää, to enjoy the crisp wintry weather and the superb ice conditions.

One visitor, Anu, who had traveled from Tallinn, told AK that: "A couple of days ago, when we planned to visit Pühajärv, we thought we wouldn't be able to get out on to the ice yet, but as you can see, nature performed a miracle over those two days. Now here we are skating, and there is some very good ice here."

While the temperatures have plummeted, snowfall has been scanty.

Imre Arro, who organizes skating tours on the lake, said: "When it comes to skating ice, this is a bit like the wind is for surfers."

"It can be the case that in a normal winter, the ice is good in the morning, but new snowfall comes in the afternoon, and this stays due to the cold, meaning the good ice is gone by the evening. Some years you can't get to skate at all, hence why taking the opportunity to do so today is certainly a great thing," he went on.

Most years, walking or sledding on lake ice is all that can be done, though Arro said he does try to set up a 10-kilometer ice route each winter. At present, the whole lake is suitable for skating.

Skaters have to wrap up warm, however, even with the clear skies and sunshine.

With the wind chill factor, the temperature on Pühajärv even in the afternoon felt like -28 degrees.

Arro put the ice thickness at anything from 8 centimeters to 18 centimeters, adding that below the surface frost, it is as smooth as glass in places, making for ideal skating conditions.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera'

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