Photographer's Note

Lake Weissensee in Carinthia makes all your icy dreams come true. The 6.5km² surface of the lake is the largest consistently frozen and prepared natural ice surface in Europe.

"The lake freezes over on St. Catharine’s Day” says an old weather proverb that turns out to be true year after year. Every year, promptly on the 25 November (St. Catharine’s Day), a thin layer of ice begins to form on the small western part of Lake Weissensee. From mid-December until early March, the up to 40cm-thick ice layer on the lake is not only used for ice sports, but you may also encounter horse-drawn sleighs and winter hikers enjoying the unspoilt natural setting on the ice.

An expert ice master and his team look after the circular skating rinks (up to 25km long), the curling tracks and ice-hockey pitches and the 400-metre trail for speed skaters.

Lake Weissensee also houses the only ice-skating academy on natural ice. At Christmas and during the first two weeks in February, you have the chance of learning the art of ice skating and speed skating in this unique setting.

Thanks to international ice events, Lake Weissensee has also made a name for itself outside Austria. At the end of January, for instance, 5,000 guests, among them the world’s best marathon speed skaters, will gather here to take part in the speed skating contests over 50, 100 and 200km as part of the "Alternative Dutch 11-City Race".

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Additional Photos by Wolfgang Mickl (wmickl) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 10 W: 0 N: 11] (536)
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