DON'T HESITATE AND BOOK THIS EXPERIENCE!
Before going to Stockholm I went 3 times to an Ice Skating rink in the city where I live, to get the feeling of the ice. Skating is not easy, try a bit before going, learn the basics at least to be able to enjoy in full this experience. Being almost an absolute beginner, I have booked the introduction group adventure. I was assisted every centimetre of the way, with tips on how to skate, how to keep my balance and never felt any pressure to go faster or keep up with the others. Sven was in the tail of the group, helping the ones who were a bit slower, and Joakim was leading the group making sure we skated on the safest path. The instructors, Sven and Joakim, are experienced, knowledgeable and it's obvious that all they want is for their guests is to have FUN and remember that day as a great one forever.
Here is what you should expect:
- We met at 7:50 am at the ICEguide HQ, where each of us had a backpack ready with our name tag on it. The backpack, although 8 KG heavy, does not feel heavy on the back at all thanks to the straps and the balanced disposition of the content inside. Each of us picked one of the boots from the shelves. They have plenty available of different sizes so you can try them on until you find the one that fits you best. Super comfortable and warm, leather soft boots that you will easily clap on your skates once on the ice. Sven and Joakim also gave us a pair of rain pants as extra layer. They will also check your gloves and, if they feel they are not good enough, they will give you a pair from their selection.
- After some coffee or tea and after watching a safety video of what to do if someone falls through the ice (extremely rare but hey, you never know!) we sat in the mini-van (we were 7 skaters + Sven and Joakim) and drove up North for almost 2 hours to find the best ice of the day. The van was comfortable and we had a pit stop just before reaching the lake at a gas station.
- We parked by this BEAUTIFUL huge frozen lake. The sun was shining and the ice was thick and smooth. Nobody else was skating, we were the only ones there.
- We gathered around in a circle and the instructors started explaining to us the content of the backpack, how to put it on, the use of each safety equipment attached to it and asked us to wear the gear that came with it: helmets, knee and elbow pads.
- Once we were all dressed up for the skating, we walked on the lake (surreal!) until we reached a point where the ice was smooth and clean. That's where we clapped the skates under the boots. One by one, helping each other and then, all of a sudden you are standing on your skates, on this beautiful lake ready to start exploring it.
- We skated around the lake for about 2 hours, stopping now and then to learn from Sven and Joakim about the ice, how experts check the thickness with the sticks, learning about this beautiful sport which is a deep part of the Swedish culture. If you are feeling like 2 hours skating seems super long, trust me: it was lunchtime and never even noticed how fast the time passed. It's a non-stop enjoyment and the surroundings are so beautiful that time goes by very rapidly.
- At around 12:00, Sven and Joakim picked a nice spot on the shore where it was sunny and protected by the wind. They made a bonfire and we all sat around it eating the sandwich they had prepared for us and sipping hot drinks from the flask we had in the backpacks. We stayed there for about 45 mins, resting, chatting and eating. It was super nice. In the backpack there is an extra warm vest to be worn during lunch to keep our bodies warm while eating. Everything is arranged to the perfection.
- Back on the ice, clapped the skates on and continued the experience. On the way back, it was a bit windy and Sven helped me by tolling me on the ice to go back to the starting point. That was also a very cool experience. I felt safe and in great hands the whole time.
- Back on the shore, we removed the protection gears, re-packed our backpacks, sat on the car and drove back to Stockholm.
What can I say: I wish I was a better skater cos then I would have enjoyed the skating a lot more but, thanks to the guides, I will remember that day as one of the highlights of my life and I am extremely thankful for their support and for making this experience unforgettable. 10+!