Scan Magazine, Issue 96, January 2017

Page 82

Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  Swedish Destinations Not to Miss in 2017

Dog sledding, snowshoe excursions and winter bathing are just some of the many winter activities found here. Welcome to a winter wonderland.

Stay cool (as ice) in northern Sweden Locals in the north Swedish city of Skellefteå are experts in making the dark and cold winter into something truly special and amazing. Take your pick from dog sledding, snowshoe walks on the frozen Baltic Sea or – if you dare – a swim in a hole in the ice. By Ellinor Thunberg  |  Photos: Visit Skellefteå

Winter in Skellefteå is something that has to be experienced, and one of the main highlights is the Scandinavian Winter Bathing Championships in February. Last year saw 200 swimmers enter the icecold water, but the number is increasing by the year. The temperature varies, but one thing is certain: it is going to be a refreshing dip! Air temperatures have been down to around minus 30 degrees Celsius, and the water is usually down to a chilly zero degrees when the swimmers set off on the 25-metre swim.

Logart, communications officer at Visit Skellefteå.

“There are so many opportunities that come with the dark and cold season. It manifests in various ways, but the winter swim has become very popular in Skellefteå in the past few years. It is a lot about seizing the opportunities and making something cool out of that,” says Ted

Ice walk on the Baltic Sea

82  |  Issue 96  |  January 2017

zen Baltic Sea with a local guide, and you might even squeeze in some ice-fishing in time for lunch. “Skiing needs some practice if it is your first time, but you can literally learn to walk in snowshoes in five minutes and be on your way. It is a real feeling of freedom,” Logart says.

The local organisation Dark & Cold also offers non-competitive winter baths on a regular basis, where you take a quick dip in a hole in the ice – a perfect choice for first-timers. Despite the urge of some of us to stay indoors non-stop during winter, Logart points out that it makes little sense to sit around and wait for summer when the snow is such big part of the experience here.

Not everyone is up for the challenge of a winter swim, but there are plenty of other activities to choose from, including dog sledding, skiing and, perhaps easiest of them all, a snowshoe excursion. One popular option is an ice walk on the fro-

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