Winter in half the USA

It was 8 degrees in Salt Lake this morning; Brrrrr! Both my dog Lilly and local sledding hill were loving it.

However the east coast is unseasonably warm right now. THE LAKE PLACID OVAL OPENING IS ON HOLD! I will be updating the Dimon Sports website with the latest as news comes in.

Check out this fascinating USA weather map -try the mouseovers just below the national map, you can see temperatures sloshing about, the east coast looks very warm. My parents in Vermont say it is “almost scary warm”.

XC & Downhill Skiers, Speedskaters waiting for outdoor ice, and other winter enthusiasts are not happy in this age of global warming.

I must admit that out of some flavor of “guilty liberal duty”, I went to see the Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth. I am glad I went. It shows absolutely terrifying scientific projections that have nothing to do with any political philosophy; Global warming is really a moral/survival issue. Yeeeeoww! Go see it, just go, really….

Of course does this have anything to do with speedskating in an era of indoor rinks? I would argue yes, it does.

Speedskating (and skating in general) started on lakes, rivers, canals & ponds. If natural ice slowly dwindles, then the roots of this sport are weaker (and much of lowland China, Manhattan, San Francisco, Florida, and Holland will be under FEET of water, that’s mildly important too).

Even from my own small sample of one, I took my first “clap blade” enabled steps on a pond in December of 2001, and a few months later took this picture during a 100k speedskating race.

It was this weekend I met my longtime friend Carla, who is wearing her infamous “blue mittens of doom” in this photo. Many skaters have felt these fleecey paws skimming their nose as they try to draft her.

So yeah, no natural ice, my life is different & I might never have met a close friend. They even had to cancel ice Marathon Nationals last year. It got too warm, the track was a foot deep in slush.

How many speedskaters from Michigan got their start in the sport, or met longtime friends on the Lake Petoskey natural ice track? Speedskaters in Butte rely on cold weather, and anywhere people shovel a track out from snow covered ice, you need sustained cold.

The list goes on & on, and increases unimaginably when you add the joy that is pond hockey to this consideration (there even is a huge pond hockey national champs, cool…)

Spring, summer, & fall sports have their seasons, however we could see the slow disappearance of many winter sports in our lifetimes. Sad…

For the first time I will try importing an amazing video I saw YouTube (if it screws up your browser/computer, let me know, here is a direct link to it on youtube).

I have spoken to several people who have related awestruck stories about skating canals winding through cities or the countryside in Holland. It’s on my “list of stuff to do before I die”. This is an amazing video of exactly what I imagine it to be like.

There is a sound, and a freedom to the easy speed of good natural ice. I can feel it here. Also find out what a “wak” and “klunen” is. Hey Ernie in the Netherlands, thanks for this video!!!!!!!

11 Responses to “Winter in half the USA”

  1. Great video! I remember about 12 years ago I was reading a “Travel and Leisure” magazine that included an article about a Canadian city which has a river that when frozen, people use for city transportation! To me this kind of skating on rivers and lakes is the ultimate skating dream.

  2. I bet the article you read was talking about Ottawa’s rideau canal… they flood/zamboni something like 15km of the canal, and people do commute to work on skates, and they have a winter festival centered on it…

    its a looong way from miami! ; )

  3. that is great, andrew! i’d never seen a vid of dutch actually skating their canals.
    ‘wak’ reminds me of the sound we made when we broke thru the ice skating the lakes in northern michigan ..coincidence?

  4. It IS scary warm here (Ithaca) - very discombobulating.

    Remember that on the grandscale, earth is at a low point for temperature. And, there’s a lot of noise and variance in the system, too much to call it global warming from a few mail winters. Still, the planet is warming up, you could see that from the earliest results 30 years ago; the scientific community is pretty much unanimous about it by now. Like evolution, it’s accepted fact in every other remotely civilized country. Sigh.

  5. Ottawa’s Rideu Canal… Hmmm!
    That’s only about 487 coffee cups away from Miami!

    Andrew, you need to start a forum in your blog!

  6. Some of the mountain lakes are starting to freeze here in Northern Utah…

  7. It was 70 degrees here in NY today.

  8. Im seeing northen ocean temps drop this could lead to a shut down in the global ocean currents which regulate northen land mass temps if the currents drop to fast we will head straight threw global warming and into an ICE AGE. we as a planet are putting more by-products in our environment on a avrage bases than all the volcanic activity leading up to the last ice age. I would love to know how many tones of by-products are being up in the air from china every thing we do an buy is from CHINA.

  9. Great video of the Dutch canal skate! I was in Friesland this summer and skated (inline) through several towns, skating on roads that ran along similar canals. The towns were check points for the “Elfstedentocht” (11 Cities Tour). They haven’t held the race since ‘97, because the canals haven’t frozen solid enough… it’s like a 200km race!!! Ouch!

  10. Hi Andrew,

    Nice to see you like my video :) I am a bit embarrassed with the quality of the shoots and my ’steenkolen’ English though. It was a test of my Canon Ixus and for sending to friends abroad to explain my obsession for frozen Dutch lakes. But then I found this editing software on my PC and I missed a video like this on YouTube ;). A better quality version can be found on my website. Some friends wanted to catch the first plane to Amsterdam ;), but the ice was already melting.

    For me (and many Dutch) a good skating day is the highlight of the year, indeed something to do before you die ;). To bad it’s getting warmer each year (this 2007 winter was a 300 year record). I’ve been thinking of doing a skate tour in Finland, but the Dutch cannals are unique (due to peat harvesting and water transport).

  11. luogo interessante, soddisfare interessante, buon!

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