While freezing winter temperatures might keep most people indoors, others welcome the cold with open arms. These are the ice skaters who have waited patiently all year for the lakes to freeze over, so they can flash their sharp skates on the outdoor ice.
Just north of Stockholm, Sweden’s third largest lake, Lake Mälaren is an excellent place to go ice skating. In the middle of February, Sigtunarännet sees skating enthusiasts gather here to compete in the long, 50km race, which offers prize money of 24,000 SEK (approx US $2,700).
The ‘shorter’ 25km race attracts recreational skaters, though you still have to be pretty fit to compete. Both races start from Sigtuna in the county of Stockholm with participants racing past sights such as Steninge Castle and the Royal Rosersbergs Castle.
There’s also an adrenalin-pumping Ice Cross Challenge obstacle course for kids aged 12-17, while younger children can go treasure hunting in a large ice labyrinth – possibly with a parent. Icy fun for the entire family, just a 40-minute drive from the Swedish capital.