Scan Magazine, Issue 108, January 2018

Page 54

Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  Top Destinations to Visit in Sweden in 2018

Popular ice track in Luleå The much loved ice track in Luleå is returning for its 15th consecutive year. Also making a reappearance is KPN Grand Prix, which attracts some of the best ice skaters in the world. By Malin Norman  |  Photos: Vincent Reimersma

Every year for the past 14 years, an ice track is prepared in the Port of Luleå. It starts at the northern harbour, goes around Gültzauudden and further out to the island of Gråsjälören, and finishes back at the southern harbour. The track varies in shape and distance but is normally around 12 kilometres, connecting the city centre with the archipelago and surrounding residential areas. The 20-metre-wide ice track is popular for ice skating, of course, but also for typical kick-sleds and walking on the snow pavement alongside the tracks. Along 54  |  Issue 108  |  January 2018

the route are several spots for barbecuing, eating a packed lunch and getting some shelter from the wind. The municipality also serves the public with around 25 kick-sleds available to borrow.

Jan the Iceman The spectacular ice track was an initiative by local politician Ylva Strutz back in 2002, to function as an area for recreation on the ice outside the city centre. Once the idea was approved and preparations commenced, the ice track became a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

The project is now managed by Jan Blomqvist, also called ‘Jan the Iceman’, who oversees a team of six who carefully prepare the ice track every year. They get going when the ice is around 35 centimetres in thickness, usually in midJanuary, and prepare a smooth surface for all those winter activities. “There’s nothing quite like it,” says Petter Norén of Visit Luleå. “This really is the best natural ice track in the world. With all the massive amounts of ice around Luleå in winter, this is a fantastic way of connecting the city centre with the surrounding nature, such as the many beautiful islands in the archipelago.”

KPN Grand Prix In 2017, the international ice skating competition KPN Grand Prix took place here

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