We have had 2 days of below zero here in NL. That is cause enough for people to get their skates sharpened and to develop a crazy level of skate frenzy stress that you’d have to see to believe.
There is no ice yet – ok – actually there is a very thin layer of ice developing over the canals and ponds in the countryside. A very thin layer right now. But it’s ice.
There is such a hope for skating that they have turned off some of the wind turbines that pump water through the canals to give it more chance of freezing and I read in the paper this morning that they have banned boats from cruising out on certain ponds. The “ice men” are frequently checking for new mm’s (millimeters, not m&m chocolate…), getting rid of any debris they see floating in the water.
The official amount of mm’s (see above…) for skating is 7cm ( i think). From a Canadian’s standpoint – that sure doesn’t sound like a lot – but I must admit I have been out there – and on occasion, as one of the first. We go out with a rope and pick in case we go through the ice. The idea being that you can throw the rope out to someone and/or use the pick (looks like a screwdriver – in fact, my husband sometimes brings a screwdriver…) to give you grip to get out of the ice. I’ve never fallen through though I have gotten a wet foot – but we have seem people fall through – even offered one guy a hot shower once. The water is cold after all…
The ice can be so thin that it moves when you are skating. You can hear it cracking and re-adjusting. It rarely freeze under the many bridges so the ice-men make smaller wooden bridges to get over the water.
I must also say that almost everywhere that we are likely to skate, the water depth is no more than 2m – in many case even less… so that helps put the 7cm in perspective – right?
People will not go to work in order to skate – and it will be ok as the boss will also be skating. They will cancel vacations, meetings, find babysitters, let go of all other responsibility. There will be impromptu hot chocolate stalls set up on the ice (we did that one year and made a killing!), and everyone everywhere will be happy. I mean, really really Happy.
Our friends will flock in droves. The emails and tweets about the ice are already starting. My husband (as well as many of our neighbors) has his own skate sharpener which he’ll be using this week to get everyones skates ready.
I love to skate. Speed skating that is. With the long blades and leather boots. Skating over the ponds, through the grassy swamplands, rosy cheeks and cold feet, huge smiles on everyone I see – it’s up there in my favorite things to do.
So. Let There Be Ice!!!