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World's Largest Hockey Rink
February 22, 2007 7:29 AM   Subscribe

A set of ideal conditions earlier this week -- cold weather, little wind and snow -- created a large skating rink. On Lake Superior. Beautifully clear (YouTube - minor swearing if you're at work). Ever skate for a mile? Cracks on the ice. With sound (YouTube). And of course, hockey (YouTube). Or maybe just some skating and kite flying (YouTube). Duluth News Tribune's story. (With annoying registration but nice photo gallery)
posted by starman (24 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
As if I wasn't missing winter enough. Love the YT links. Thanks for this.
posted by dreamsign at 7:36 AM on February 22, 2007


I miss actual winter. Awesome collection of links!
posted by carmen at 7:50 AM on February 22, 2007


Well, I have skated the 4.5 miles (each way, you get a good workout skating there and back....) of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, which also claims to be the works largest skating rink. Mind you, I have been on the ice in the North Atlantic too, so it could be considered bigger then either, but not so good for skating. Nice links and video though, thanks!
posted by Bovine Love at 7:52 AM on February 22, 2007


this was the best time ever--seeing hundreds of folks grinning ear to ear, skating for miles... two feet thick, perfectly clear, and hearing the incredible sounds of the ice boooming, pinging, PLONGing beneath you. sometimes, if you lie on it, it will suddenly settle and you feel like you're falling. like a dream.

fucking awesome. my mom said, when i showed her my photos, that there would be a news story where a whole section of Duluth's population would disappear. she so chicken.
posted by RedEmma at 8:05 AM on February 22, 2007


Are all of those links from Duluth? 'Cause I swear some of those people sound more Canadian than I do.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:14 AM on February 22, 2007


we *are* more Canadian than you are.
posted by RedEmma at 8:28 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


BTW, i have no idea what i meant by that. just that i think Lake Superior makes us more Canadian than god.

and i have no idea what i meant by that, either.

my favorite video is this one. [Quicktime]
posted by RedEmma at 8:35 AM on February 22, 2007


we *are* more Canadian than you are.

Oooo...ouch :(

Actually, I once had a roommate who was originally from Duluth. And yeah- total hoser.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:36 AM on February 22, 2007


Funny you posted this. I was just reading about some guy who discovered a shipwreck because the ice is clear as a glass-bottomed boat. Neat stuff.
posted by steef at 8:43 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've skated the Rideau, too, but while it can be beautiful (and the first real feeling of community I've noted in the city), that clear ice is spectacular. (and kite-skating! I must try that)
posted by dreamsign at 8:46 AM on February 22, 2007


heh, I forgot there was another active Duluth member on Metafilter.
Yeah things are pretty neat this year, I would hesitate to call it a real winter because of the lack of snow and am worried about the vegetation come the spring because of the lack of snow insulation with the bitter cold we had a few weeks ago.

Kind of strange to see links to these things here.

I went to the Cornucopia ice caves this week, a few flickr photos including one through the ice.
posted by edgeways at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2007


Also here is another skating video from a Duluth local
posted by edgeways at 9:13 AM on February 22, 2007


Cracks on the ice. With sound

About 10 years ago cold conditions here in Utah completely froze over a reservoir (much smaller than Lake Superior). Some of my adventurous acquaintances decided that meant it was time to camp out overnight in the middle of the lake.

One of the things I recall most about the experience was the cracking sounds the ice made in the wee hours of the morning. The really weird thing is that it wasn't just the percussive sound I was used to thinking about. There were low tones along with it, and because it seemed liked they moved with the cracks, it was sortof like hearing a "light saber" effect zoom by. It was a unique experience, one I'd never had before and I've never had since. Has anyone else heard something like this? Any idea why it sounds different?

(About 6 in the morning I heard the ice crack right under the tent I was in. I already had visions of the ice giving way and plunging us into an early cold and desparate grave, so even though nothing remotely like that actually happened, the brief moment of intense fear and resulting adrenaline shot I received are also something else I remember.)
posted by weston at 9:41 AM on February 22, 2007


(YouTube - minor swearing if you're at work)

What kind of language does it have if I'm not at work?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:42 AM on February 22, 2007


the kids and i were lying on it, and they said it sounded like an arcade down below, like we were gods and there were spaceships fighting below the firmament we were lying upon. the variety is what's really cool about it. and it is very thrilling and even frightening.

i have no expertise in acoustic effects. so i don't know anything about it except to say that it's freakin wonderful. and it'll probably be years and years before we get to experience it again.

(unless this is what we get with global warming--no snow and a prolonged freeze... ) the drought this summer is going to suck.
posted by RedEmma at 10:16 AM on February 22, 2007


The photo linked to "cracks on the ice" is beautiful. Thanks for posting this.
posted by ferdydurke at 11:10 AM on February 22, 2007


Wonderful photos -- thanks.

Ah Duluth...ah deep winter joys.

Skating on cracking ice reminds me of years ago when winter camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (north of Duluth for non-Minnesotans). One night we had gone out on a lake (don't remember the name) to listen and howl to the timber wolves. The temp was dropping below zero (reached below -40) and the ice on the lake was cracking.

As we walked, we could hear booms, crinklings, jabberings, all sorts of sounds. Ice changes shape and emits amazing noises. Then, from across the lake, we heard what sounded like a rifle, followed by what sounded like a jet engine approaching us, barely audible at first but in ten seconds it was a roaring UNDER us, only to fade away in moments.

And as the crack past us, we had felt the ice under our feet shift up and down -- that is, left foot up, right foot down. This was followed by our party whooping and hollering and congratulating each other that we had not been swallowed up and crushed under tons of lake ice, but instead were alive and well in the glorious Minnesota north woods.

Love that memory.
posted by mooncrow at 11:52 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love skating on ice outside - where I live it's a rarity, so my father (from the prairies and therefore all about the ice rinks) either made little rinks in the backyard for us as toddlers, or would take us up to higher elevations. Always fun, there's something about it that just cannot be matched in a rink. Those kids will remember doing that for the rest of their lives.
posted by Salmonberry at 1:02 PM on February 22, 2007


I live on Lake Michigan...not really safe to go out on the ice close to shore. I can hear the ice groaning from my house in the winter as the ice smashes into itself, especially when there is a lot of wind. As for snow, we have had tons of it this winter.
posted by UseyurBrain at 5:05 PM on February 22, 2007


I remember the booming of Lake Superior when the ice broke up in the spring all those many years ago when I lived in Duluth.

I proudly admit that I am a cake. (I think you have to know Duluth to know what that means.)
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:23 PM on February 22, 2007


I remember skiing across Lake Champlain to the Vermont side with my parents when I was a kid. That's right, there was lots of snow on top of the ice. Must have been right about here.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:36 PM on February 22, 2007


As we walked, we could hear booms, crinklings, jabberings, all sorts of sounds. Ice changes shape and emits amazing noises. Then, from across the lake, we heard what sounded like a rifle, followed by what sounded like a jet engine approaching us, barely audible at first but in ten seconds it was a roaring UNDER us, only to fade away in moments.

Ice is some spooky and unpredictable stuff. Here in Sweden, "långfärdsskridskoåkning" - long distance ice skating - is a pretty common winter activity. The Vikingarännet is an 80km race between Uppsala and Stockholm - this year conditions were primo.

Rules of ice skating: Never go alone, always have ice picks (roped together and worn around the neck for quick access) and a throw rope handy, and wear a backpack with dry clothes well sealed in plastic. If you break through, the backpack will help to keep you afloat, the ice picks will enable you to get back up on firm ice, and the dry clothes will keep you from freezing to death. Follow these rules and it's prefectly safe and tons of fun. Thin, new, natural ice is the smoothest and fastest.
posted by three blind mice at 12:28 AM on February 23, 2007


Awesome. I miss wandering around in the snow in winter, but skating on a huge lake like this must be infinitely more fun. Reminds me of Helprin's "Winter's Tale" and any number of childhood memories. How I wish it snowed where I live now...
posted by azazello at 6:32 AM on February 23, 2007


(unless this is what we get with global warming--no snow and a prolonged freeze... ) the drought this summer is going to suck.

Yeah, I'm already dreading a summer of campfire restrictions throughout MN. If I leave the city, I want to burn things, dammit.
posted by COBRA! at 7:12 AM on February 23, 2007


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