When setting foot on ice, you must consider your safety. Falling through the ice exposes you to cold water and it is critical you do not remain too long in the water. Firstly, you should avoid falling through the ice. Secondly, you must be prepared and able to get out of the water if you fall through.
KEC – Knowledge, Equipment, Company! This summarizes what you should have in mind.
Learn to interpret the ice. There are different types of ice with different strengths, formed by different weather. Read about different kinds of ice to get general knowledge. Always bring ice poles and test the ice whenever its appearance changes. Practice using your safety equipment. Learn to throw your lifeline.
It is crucial that you float if you fall into water. A life jacket is suitable for children. We who practice Nordic ice skating always wear a backpack with a spare set of clothes packed in waterproof bags, making the backpack function as a floating device. For this to work, the backpack must have both a waist strap and a crotch strap, otherwise the backpack floats up without you.
Ice claws is a must which everyone wears around the neck. Your ice claws should be worn high up and be fitted tight around your neck. They should not move around.
Everyone should be equipped with lifelines. You need to reach it without removing your backpack. The end of the lifeline is secured in the waist strap of your backpack.
Secure your phone in a waterproof bag to protect it from water if you fall through the ice. Don’t forget a seat map either!
Never skate alone. Saving yourself from a hole in the ice might be more difficult than you imagined. Ice claws could also prove a challenge, thin ice can force you to claw your way back several meters. Throwing a lifeline to your friend is much easier. There should be at least two, preferably four people, in your group. Skate in a line, behind one another. Skating side by side risks the whole group going through the ice simultaneously and not being able to help each other.
The safest way to get started with Nordic ice skating on natural ice is joining an association or finding experienced company in a facebook group. A search will find you many friends and associations.
We strongly recommend skating organized tours with educated leaders. They will make sure you skate the best and most secure ice, with nice weather and tailwind to the extent possible.
Enjoy your skating!