No sun today

As you can see in the blog posts before, we had really nice winter weather with a lot of sun the last weeks. Even last night was clear. When I stood up at 7 o’clock we had -15 °C outside, but it was cloudy. Three hours later the temperature has climbed to -5 °C and it started to snow.

Annika and I went outside to go for a walk. It became a bit longer and chillier than planned: We went to the shore and rounded the island Norrskär on the thick ice layer that covers the Baltic Sea. When we returned to the mainland, wind and snowfall had intensified. It’s still snowing, but not very much, just some centimetres, I guess.

This photo shows a nameless stony island between Norrskär and the mainland. What a contrast to the photos of the sunrise some days ago.

It’s not the photo, it’s the whole landscape that looks monochrome and the island Gåsören – 2 kilometres away – was even completely hidden behind the falling snow.

The snow returns

I dislike thaw. When it’s winter I want to see white snow, not brownish slush and drizzle falling from low-hanging clouds.

The latter was the weather that we got for four days. The snow slid from the roofs and melted away and under many water puddles sheer ice covered the roads. But alas, yesterday the weather changed and it started to snow. Today it has been quite windy and it has been constantly snowing. The strong winds glue the wet snow to the houses, the cars, and the windows.

I guess, we got round 20 cm of snow the last 24 hours and it continues snowing. The thick brown half-frozen chunks of wet snow, that framed all streets start to get a fresh white snow blanket and small snow drifts cover the roadways.

Yes snow – that’s more my cup of tea. I hope however, that the wind gusts will stop soon, since tomorrow the Winter Swimming World Cup and Scandinavian
Championship 2016 will take place in Skellefteå and I guess it won’t be much fun for the swimmers standing in some kind of “snow storm” dressed only with a swimsuit and a warm cap. And neither for me, who is going to take pictures of this event.

Winter Swimming World Cup and Scandinavian Championship 2016

Last Saturday the 5th winter swimming competition in Skellefteå took place, this time not only as a Scandinavian Championship but even part of the world cup. The Happy Friends of Cold and Darkness (or in Swedish: Mörkrets och kylans glada vänner, which I’m a member of, was the organiser of this event.

I wasn’t part of the organisation team this year, but I was on the ice round the swimming pool and took many photos, both for me and the media.

The first winter swimming in 2012 was the coldest with temperatures round -32 °C. This year it was much warmer with only -1 °C, but the wind and the snow showers made the event to a chilly experience, too.

Here are some impressions:

Links to blog articles about the other winter swim championships in Skellefteå:

 

About a tough women

Last year our association Mörkrets och Kylans Glada Vänner (Happy Friends of Cold and Darkness) got a special request. Josefine Steenari from Lindome nearby Göteborg had the wish to take a winter bath.

For most people it sounds really crazy to enter a pool with ice cold water with temperatures between +0.1 °C and +0.4 °C. But some people just want to try it anyway, and so did Josefine. While most people just could go or drive to the next ice hole, undress, take a deep breath and go into the icy water, Josefine needs some help, since she is almost totally paralysed. She communicate with her eyes but she has no control about her extremities and is sitting in a wheel chair.

Mörkrets och Kylans Glada Vänner was glad to help. Our first plan was to let her ice bath be part of the Winter Swimming Championship on last Saturday, but unfortunately the gangway down to the ice covered river Skellefteälven was too steep and we couldn’t guarantee Josefine’s safety.

Fortunately we found another possibility. The association has an ice hole for winter bathing in Kåge, not far away from Skellefteå. Here we met Josefine and her team on Sunday evening and after a bit of thinking and planning we all were ready for her first ice bath. Josefine sat in a special sling (I’m not sure if it’s the right word), that was attached to a log and Hans and Jarkko lowered her slowly, while I was behind her in my waterproof immersion suit to turn her a bit. Tiina counted the seconds and after round 12 seconds she was lifted up again.

I heard, that Josefine loved the experience and that the ice water didn’t felt as cold as expected. I was glad and even a bit proud to be part of the team, that could help her to fulfil her wish. One more crazy ice bather in Sweden!

1st photo: Annika Kramer, 2nd photo: Norran, Karin Israelsson

Links:

Just a photo through the window

Today it was just a fine winter day. Last week was warm and cloudy, with wet snow showers and drizzle. Parts of the little amount of snow, that we got this year melted away. But last weekend it snowed. As a matter of fact it snowed so much, that some of the planes to Skellefteå were cancelled and round 30 of the participants of the Winter Swimming Championship couldn’t join.

On the other side it’s always nice with fresh, white snow, at least in my opinion. From Friday to Sunday we got round 25 – 30 cm and it needs only 20 other centimetres to hide the fence in my backyard.

But I won’t witness it, if more snow came the next week. Tomorrow (more precise: in tome hours, it gotta be a short night!) I will take the bus to Skellefteå, another bus to Luleå, the train to Kiruna and probably a lift to Nikkaluokta, where I’ll start a ski tour on the Kungsleden:

NikkaluoktaKebnekaiseSingiSälkaTjäktjaAlesjaureAbiskojaureAbisko

I’ll be offline for some weeks. Now I just hope for good weather, because I want to make many photos. Wish me luck!

 

Back from a ski tour on the Kungsleden

Hello, I’m back. Back from 13 days of travelling, ten and a half of them with skis on the Kungsleden in the Swedish mountains from Nikkaluokta to Abisko. You could do the tour in six to seven days, but why should I?

It will take some time until I went through the 1068 photos, that I did on my journey. I only will show the very first and the very last of them. What happened in between I will tell and show in the following days.