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Swedish Press N Y A

S V E N S K A

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Let’s Get Our Skates On

P R E S S E N

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February 2021 Vol 92:01 $9.95

01 2021

Tour Skating Interview with Gold Medalist Pernilla Wiberg Åre Sweden


Tour Skating:

Winter exploration of coastlines, archipelagos, lakes, canals and more

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head of me stretches a wide expanse of endless smooth black ice. Helped by a light wind from behind, I am gliding along swiftly, passing islands and inlets. The sky is clear and the late winter sun warms my face. Today I am the leader, and following behind me is a line of skating buddies, each one synchronizing his or her movements with the one ahead. We minimize our effort by working together creating a harmonious rocking movement of the whole group as we push along in step. The ice sings, and the tone tells us about the condition. I stamp my foot like a rabbit now and then to hear the tone better. A high pitch is a warning about thin ice. I also use my sharppointed skating poles to probe the ice. I am describing a perfect moment, but it is not always like this. Tour skating is very much dependent on ice and weather conditions. On a perfect day it is magic! Historians tell us that humans have been skating for thousands of years – according to some perhaps as far back as 20,000 years ago. There is a lot of evidence that people skated on ice about 4,000 years ago. Most of us have seen pictures by Dutch painters showing people skating in Holland in the 17th century. Today, långfärdsskridskoåkning (long distance or “tour” skating) on

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By Leif Lundquist

On Kyrkfjärden, 14 km from Stockholms center as the crow flies. Photo: Jurgen König, DLS

natural ice is very popular in the Nordic countries. In Sweden it is practiced all over the country, but Stockholm is the nexus of the tour skating movement due to its location on the Baltic Sea. There is an abundance of lakes and also the coastal Baltic archipelago with around 25,000 islands. The local weather conditions

and the size of the population are ideal. The largest and most influential club, Stockholms SkridskoSeglarKlubb (SSSK), has over 10,000 members and more than 200 leaders. It also has the longest name in English, “The Stockholm Ice Skate Sailing and Touring Club.” In addition, there are over 100 more clubs around the country, mostly with memberships in the hundreds but some reaching a thousand or more members. Ice conditions change fast. After a cold spell you may be able to find a lake or a bay with a large area of hard and smooth ice, but by the following night it may have snowed heavily, and that stretch of frozen water is no longer useful as a skating destination. To plan tours you need access to the latest ice information, and the majority of tour skating clubs have joined forces to exchange information on the web under the name “Skridskonätet” (https://skridsko.net/). During the winter season, reports on ice conditions and tours are constantly being filed at this site for others to use in their planning. This is also a place to see great pictures from past tours, and it is not unusual to find reports from other countries. These include some very exotic destinations, such as the Baikal Lake in Siberia or even the Antarctic. “Don’t you die if you go through the ice?” That is the first question


asked by novices. “Yes you could, but not if you’re prepared for the eventuality” is the answer. Ice conditions change and there may be weak spots here and there due to undercurrents, wind and several other causes. If you follow a few simple rules, tour skating is as safe as any other sport. Sällskap (company), Kunskap (knowledge), and Redskap (equipment) is the mantra, and all skating clubs organize safety courses with practicing sessions. Don’t ever skate alone. Go to the introduction courses, learn the rules, and bring the proper safety gear. A backpack with a change of clothes in a watertight bag helps you stay afloat in the water if you do go through. A safety line can be thrown to help you out, and ice claws allow you to get a better grip on slippery ice. There is more, but knowledge and practice take a lot of the drama out of a simple dip in the water. Going through thin ice is a serious event, but statistically you will be out of the water in less than a minute. By the way, on a leader-led tour it is the leader that goes through, so stay back a bit, be ready to throw your line and help him or her to get out. While we are on the topic of hazards, the greatest danger is a fall. If you wonder why tour skaters

Ice skating around Stockholm City Hall. Photo: Jann Lipka/imagebank.sweden.se

wear knee and elbow pads as well as helmets, remember that ice is very hard, and heads and joints are very difficult to repair. Poles are a great help for balance and also for testing the ice thickness. Why do we go through all of this just to skate? Well, the feeling of almost flying over ice that is smooth as glass, gliding along shores, exploring little inlets and going around islands is fantastic. The same is true for going along an edge of the ice with open water a few meters away (the lapping water makes the ice thicker at the edge). After a few hours of skating, the group rests in the sun on the shore. We open our backpacks and have lunch. Not a bad way to spend a winter day. In addition to coastlines, there are lakes and canals suitable for skating, some of them in cities. Lake Mälaren in Stockholm often freezes over, and then you will see several groups out skating near the City Hall and around the city islands. Some years you can

step off the ice at the Old Town and take the subway home. When the Göta Kanal freezes, skaters make pilgrimage tours along the parts that have not been drained for the winter. In North America, Tour Skating is often called Nordic or Wild Skating. There are pockets of enthusiasts but no organized clubs as far as I know. The conditions are quite good in many places, and Lake Champlain in Vermont/New York stands out. On the site http://lakeice.squarespace.com/ there is a comprehensive description of ice activities with an emphasis on skating. There is also Nordic Skating on lakes in New England, New York State, Alaska and Montana, to name a few. In Canada, ice hockey rules, but there are Nordic Skating enthusiasts to be found – see for instance http:// www.dermott.ca/ski/skating.html. Many municipalities plow skating courses; the most famous is the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, with warm refreshments being on offer along the 7.8 km track. Not very wild, but very civilized. Footnote: Leif Lundquist has been skating for over 30 years. He is a founding member of Danderyds LångfärdSkrinnare (DLS) near Stockholm and was a tour leader for many years. Ice skating in the city of Stockholm. Photo: Helena Wahlman/imagebank. sweden.se

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Putting Sweden on the Map At Home

“Climate change is something...

Global

Pernilla Wiberg – Famous Olympic gold medalist in alpine skiing

Photos courtesy of Pernilla Wiberg

Meet Pernilla Wiberg, the famous Swedish former alpine ski racer and present businesswoman. She competed on the World Cup circuit between 1990 and 2002, where she became one of the few allevent winners. Having won two Olympic gold medals, four World Championships and one World Cup overall title, she is one of the most successful alpine ski racers of the 1990s. Please tell us where you were born and about your upbringing. I was born in Norrköping in October 1970, and I am the middle child. I have one older sister and one younger brother. Our parents were teachers in middle and high school, which meant we were all together

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during school holidays. In winter time we went skiing, and in the summer we went sailing. Sport was a big part of my upbringing, as my father was a very good 100 metres runner and tennis player. My mother was the school champion in athletics. When my sister beat me running 60 metres – I was 7 and she was 9 – I decided that I was going to be the best in the world in some sport in the future, so that not even my sister could beat me! If interested, read about my ancestry tree here: http://blogg.slaktingar.se/dubblaos-segraren-pernilla-wibergsforfader/ Of all winter sports, what made you particularly passionate about skiing? Alpine skiing has been part of my life from the age of 4. Living in Norrköping, which is in the south where there are no mountains whatsoever, it is a choice which may seem surprising. However, when I grew up in Norrköping we always had good winters, and the little garbage hill, Yxbacken, offered good training possibilities. Being 400 metres long with a vertical drop of 115 metres, it was challenging enough – or at least until I turned 16. Then I moved up north to attend the Ski Academy in Malung, Dalarna. Sweden had two great sport stars when I grew up. One was tennis player Björn Borg and the other one was skier Ingemar Stenmark. Of

course, Ingemar played a big part in my desire to embark on alpine skiing. Later in life, his legacy made me widen my skiing skills to include downhill and super-G, not only slalom and giant slalom. I wanted to achieve something he never did: winning a world cup race in the speed disciplines and particularly downhill, which I later did and became the first Swede to do so. Please describe the moments in your career that still give you the greatest satisfaction and pride. My two Olympic Gold medals, Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994, will always have a special place in my memory, but it is actually an Olympic silver medal which I appreciate the most. That is because I won it in the Formula 1 discipline, downhill, in Nagano 1998. In the course of your skiing career, you have suffered some serious injuries. Have you recovered completely? Elite sports in general, and alpine skiing particularly, is not something you do to stay “healthy”. Most elite sports people have suffered injuries during a long career. I have had more than 12 knee surgeries, and I do believe I have to have a final one soon – a total knee replacement!


Swedes

What were the circumstances that dictated the timing of your retirement from competitive skiing? When doing the Olympic Games in Nagano, 1998, I decided that I would continue another four years and stop after the Olympic Games 2002 in Salt Lake City. I would then be 31 years old, by which time I would wish to start a family and do things other than travelling around the world and living out of a suitcase. You and your family now share your time between your home in Monte Carlo and your summer house in Sweden. Does your present lifestyle still offer opportunities for recreational skiing? All four of us in our family love winter sport and particularly alpine skiing. When I stopped my skiing career in 2002, I immediately jumped into another career. In December 2003 “my” hotel in Idre Fjäll was inaugurated. It is called Pernilla Wiberg Hotel (www.idrefjall.se www.pernillawiberghotel.se). As a matter of fact, we have just been there celebrating New Year, as we do every year. It is a small, very cosy, hotel with 44 double rooms. In the lobby I keep all my nicest prizes from my career.

... I am very concerned about.” How do you think climate change will affect alpine skiing? Climate change is something I, particularly as an alpine skier, am very concerned about. The temperature is getting warmer, and my hometown ski slope is suffering. They have not opened up the slope yet because there is no natural snow, and the temperature is too warm to make artificial snow. The last 10 years have been particularly challenging. Please tell us how you met your Norwegian husband and where your children feel most at home. I met my Norwegian husband in the basement of one of the ski lodges in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. I think it was in November 1995. We then became a couple as from the summer 1996. He was the physical coach of the Norwegian women’s national team. Sweden and Norway always worked together at that time, especially when having downhill and super-G competitions. He moved to Monaco in 1998. Our first child, Axel, was born in 2003, and in 2007 Sofia joined the family. In 2009 we were married in the church in Idre. Our children always say that they have three homes – Monaco, Stockholm and the hotel in Idre Fjäll! Tell us about your business engagements. Since I stopped my skiing career I have worked as an alpine expert commentator for the Swedish

Television, SVT (https://www. svt.se/sport/alpint/wiberg-langesedan-jag-sag-en-svenska-akasahar-bra). I love that job because it keeps me close to the sport that has given me so much. Now it is my turn to give back to all the Swedish viewers. Maybe I can even convince some new viewers that this sport is the best. My work with the ski station Idre Fjäll started already in 2000. When the hotel was inaugurated in December 2003 no one was prouder than I. After spending more than 200 days a year travelling for so many years, it was an honour to be able to use this experience to build the hotel. Many of our guests notice the difference with other ski lodges and hotels. What plans do you have for the future? Continue working in television and developing the ski station Idre Fjäll. Support our children so that they will be able to follow their dreams, in the same way that my parents supported me. Interviewed by Peter Berlin

Pernilla Wiberg winning the World Champion in Slalom and Alpine Combined 1996. Photo Courtesy: Pernilla Wiberg

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Swedish Press | February 2021 17


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Road to 2045

Road to 2045

Svenska Skidförbundet har talan Av Peter Berlin

Skidåkare reser mycket, ofta till glaciärer och skidorter. På sina resor märker de att små väder- och temperaturskillnader får stor effekt på de miljöer de rör sig i. Snön är vår livsnerv och en förutsättning för att vi ska kunna utöva de idrotter vi älskar. Svenska Skidförbundet företräder dessa idrotter och har till uppgift att leda för att följa den svenska idrottsrörelsens verksamhetsidé.

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e senaste åren har världen börjat se effekterna av vårt överutnyttjande av naturresurser och ekosystem. Vi står alla inför samma utmaning: vi måste minska användningen av jordens resurser, framförallt fossila bränslen. Världens länder har förbundit sig till 17 globala mål. De balanserar perspektiven ekonomi, socialt och miljö för att vi tillsammans ska kunna uppnå en mer hållbar värld: lösa klimatkrisen, avskaffa fattigdom och minska ojämlikheter. Riktningen vi ska gå är tydlig. Nu måste vi ta stegen.

Estelle Alphand Foto Klas Rockber

Inom Svenska Skidförbundet har vi bestämt oss att börja utvärdera vår verksamhet ur ett hållbarhetsperspektiv. Det känns självklart. Förutom att hålla på med idrott och sport är det viktigt för oss att vara förebilder och en god kraft i samhället. Det krävs ingen djuplodande analys för att se att vår verksamhet lämnar ett avtryck. Likt många idrottsförbund reser vi ofta. Under hösten 2017 fattade det alpina landslaget ett beslut om att undersöka vad ett miljöarbete skulle innebära. Kunde vi behålla fokus och samtidigt bli mer klimatsmarta? Hjälpen fanns på nära håll. Tillsammans med Svenska Skidförbundets huvudsponsor Vattenfall började vi analysera verksamheten utifrån ett klimatperspektiv. Med hjälp av våra övriga partners tog vi fram en handlingsplan för att minska våra utsläpp inom områdena transporter, resor, mat,

hotell och kontor, med ett mål om att halvera våra utsläpp fram till 2022. Flera steg har även tagits inom de övriga idrotterna. Glädjande nog har våra steg mot ökad hållbarhet inte minskat vår prestation, snarare tvärtom. Den största positiva skillnaden gör Svenska Skidförbundet inom det sociala området. Glädje, gemenskap, hälsa, personlig utveckling, jämställdhet, bredd och demokrati är frågor som vi jobbar med i vår verksamhet – varje dag. Vi har också satt ett särskilt fokus på dessa genom vårt idéprogram Skidor Vill och jämställdhetssatsningen SkiEquality. Det mycket positiva samarbetet med Vattenfall har lett till fler samarbeten kring hållbarhet med andra partners. Och kanske är det här vi kan hitta nästa stora bidrag inom hållbarhetsområdet; vårt samarbete med nationella och internationella partners kan hjälpa oss att nå ännu längre och påverka ännu fler. Våra skid- och snowboardstjärnor är stora förebilder för många och vi har goda förhoppningar om att deras lyskraft tillsammans med våra globala samarbeten kommer hjälpa oss sprida inspiration och öka kunskapen genom den hållbarhetsresa vi har framför oss. Foto: Svenska Skidförbundet|www.skidor.com

Summary in English: Skiers travel a great deal and notice that even small changers in temperature and weather have a noticeable effect on their sports environment. The Swedish Ski Association has set a goal for itself to halve the greenhouse emissions due to its transportation, travel, food, accommodation, and office activities by 2022. Interestingly, the quest for sustainability has not reduced the athletic performance of the Association’s adherents, but rather the opposite. Other important initiatives of the Association aim to achieve happiness, a sense of community, good health, personal development, equality, and democracy within the sport.

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Road to 2045

Road to 2045 When Greta Thunberg became Editor-in-Chief – briefly By Peter Berlin

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anding over the responsibility for Sweden’s largest daily newspaper to an uneducated teenage activist is sheer madness, were it not for the fact that we live in an existential crisis which is still being ignored in our society.” Thus read the stark opening lines in the December 6 editorial of the mainstream newspaper Dagens Nyheter, and the words were those of famous climate activist Greta Thunberg. The newspaper had decided to throw its weight behind the sustainability agenda and invited her to be its Editor-inChief for a day. In her editorial, Greta went on to insist that, to save our climate, the task of stemming greenhouse gas emissions has to begin today, not in 2025 or 2030. More action and less talk is

Greta Thunberg at the European Parliament on 4 March 2020.

needed, she insists. Only if the general public is made sufficiently aware of the crisis situation will they exert the necessary pressure on industry and governments to act, and it is up to the news media to instil this awareness. So let’s get our skates on! Climate change doubters point out that the global climate has fluctuated between hot and cold over centuries and millenia. It is a natural phenomenon and has nothing to do with human activities – or so they say. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to examine satellite images and realize that the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps are melting at an unprecedented rate; nor does it require a geophysicist to conclude that receding coastlines are the result of rising ocean water levels. The scientific observation of climate change is quite recent. In 1988, the World Health Organisation (WMO) set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dedicated to “providing the world with objective, scientific information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of the risk of human-induced climate change, its natural, political, and economic impacts and risks, and

possible response options.” Its first chairman was the Swedish meteorologist Bertil Bolin. It is interesting to follow the IPCC’s conclusions since its inception. In 1990, the first Assessment Report stated that the observed global warming is of the same magnitude as natural climate variability. The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect is not likely for a decade or more. So far, the doubters were vindicated. However, the tone in the subsequent IPCC reports issued in 1996, 2001 and 2007 became more and more alarmist.

Dagens Nyheter invited Greta Thunberg to be its Editor-in Chief for a day. Photo: DN.se

The latest published report is dated 2014 and spells out the causes and effects of global warming in no uncertain terms: Warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. It is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming between 1951 and 2010. The next report will be released in 2022. The trend seems clear. Greta Thunberg – who was nominated for the 2019 and 2020 Nobel Peace Prize – may have work to do for years to come. And so do the news media, as long as Greta has a say in the matter.

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Profile for Swedish Press

Swedish Press February 2020 Vol 92:01 Sample  

Swedish Press is the world’s leading magazine on all good things Swedish. An authority on design, business, culture and travel since 1929, S...

Swedish Press February 2020 Vol 92:01 Sample  

Swedish Press is the world’s leading magazine on all good things Swedish. An authority on design, business, culture and travel since 1929, S...