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Ice Swimming in Finland

frosty nipples
It's been cold enough over the last weeks that the lakes have frozen and the ice on them is about 20cm thick. So tonight, rather nervously, we went to a public sauna down by the lake and prepared to go for a dip in an ice hole. We sat and sweated in the sauna for a while first, building our body temperatures up, then anxiously made our way down the path to the lake. The water felt arctic as I held onto the frozen ropes and stepped into it - cold enough to take your breath away, and then I was up to my neck in it with ice covering everywhere but the hole I was in. After a few seconds I decided that I should get out and make room for Carita to get in, but getting out was almost as painful as getting in. Carita went in, and judging from the screams, she was a bit more used to it than me; then we rushed back up to the lovely, hot sauna.

Sitting back in the warmth I could feel my skin tingling all over - it's supposed to be very good for your circulation, and slowly the feeling returned to my body. Then we went back out and did it all over again. Afterwards, all of our muscles felt very relaxed, and mentally we were relaxed too - really just happy to be alive after it. Apparently, there's also a 25m swimming competition in a frozen lake here. The Finns really are quite crazy people.

photos of ice, snow, and sauna action


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