Ice swimming: what better to do than submerse oneself in a frozen lake?

holeYears ago, the large number of lakes that surround the city of Tampere functioned to power the red brick factories that once housed the cotton, linen, wool and tricot mills of Tampere’s textile industry.  Today, residents and tourists use the lakes for leisure activities, including swimming…in the dead of winter…half naked…when the temperature is below freezing…and it is absolutely fabulous.

This one doesn’t need much explaining, since Janet, Lindsay, Karen, Amanda and I made sure to record the event:


And we stuck together, for safety:

Lastly, here is some vocab take-away:

Avanto = the said hole in the ice
Sauna = for purifying mind and body
Löyly = the spirit of the sauna that rises when you throw water on the stove
Kiuas = the stove in sauna
Makkara = Finnish sausage to be fried after sauna


About christine mccartney

I am a teacher, a wife, a proud aunt, a dog rescuer, a person who has been rescued by my rescued dogs, a hiker, a four time (phew!) cancer survivor, a runner, a tattoo addict, a vegetarian, an advocate, a friend and a happy traveller. Enjoy!
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8 Responses to Ice swimming: what better to do than submerse oneself in a frozen lake?

  1. Liz Brocker says:

    I found your blog! So excited for you and for me now that I can read and watch what you’re up to. I know I will enjoy your words of wisdom and descriptions of your adventures. Love ya!

  2. Bonnie K says:

    Alcoholism , Ruvia mentioned that, that’s a negative! Great talking to you and Im not sure about this….anyway, Im booking my flight today!

  3. says:

    What is the temp of the water?

    • I’m not sure, Paula…but the outside temperature was -1 degrees Celsius and the water felt way colder. BUT, I was told that if you go in the winter (because this lovely, warm, below-freezing weather is happily part of “spring”) the water is warmer than the outside air temperature and apparently feels a tepid, “bath-like” temperature as you submerge yourself. …Neither of those factoids actually answer your question, I realize, but the non-scientific answer I would have given after emerging would definitely have had a string of expletives in it, if that gives you any indication…
      and hey, thanks for reading this. 🙂

  4. ice vodka… yes… swimming.. only for those who exceed the expectations of life!

    • Ha! Actually, Finland is known as a country of drinkers (sadly by 2008, alcohol-related deaths surpassed cardiovascular disease and cancer)
      So I was kind of expecting something to imbibe to ease into the experience. But I realized once I arrived at the sauna that it would basically be like bringing a flask to a yoga class, since it is considered an “extreme sport” and therefore exercise… but they also served Makkara (which are these huge Finnish sausages) on a grill right outside of the ice hole, so…

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