Video: Skaters hit the natural ice on record cold day; First April skating since 17th century
After weeks of record-setting warm days in the Netherlands, ice skating fanatics made their way to the east of the country on Sunday to take advantage of some natural ice. It was the first known April day available for organized, outdoor skating since the 17th century.
Nu ook sneeuw erbij!, schaatsen op natuurijs in Winterswijk pic.twitter.com/NUUHHKewZ4— WimRuesink (@WimRuesink) April 3, 2022
In Winterswijk, Gelderland, near the German border, people laced up their skates and took to a natural ice track after the temperature plunged to -5.7 degrees Celsius. About 75 kilometers west of there, the temperature fell to -6.3 degrees, the coldest April 3 temperature ever measured. That broke a record set in 1909 in Winterswijk of -5.5 degrees.
Preparations for the natural ice rink in Winterswijk began at about midnight. The local ice club worked throughout the early morning hours to make the track ready for skaters for the first time ever in April, according to Omroep Gelderland.
In Winterswijk kan deze ochtend op een natuurijsbaan worden geschaatst. Het is volgens schaatshistoricus Huub Snoep van de KNSB voor het eerst in eeuwen— Jan Hofdijk (@JanHofdijk) April 3, 2022
dat dat in april mogelijk is. pic.twitter.com/nI0H3G7Vz3
Ice masters worked on the rink in teams for several hours. "After that, the track had to stiffen for a few hours before skating could take place," said local ice club chair Auke Spijkstra.
Thanks to the efforts of the ice masters, and the continued dip in temperature, the first skaters were able to take to the ice at 7:30 a.m. for the unique moment.
In winterswijk staan ze weer op de schaats, 3 april! pic.twitter.com/eTF7aNWOaG— WimRuesink (@WimRuesink) April 3, 2022
Experts on ice skating history who spoke to the broadcaster could not recall the last time skating was possible in April anywhere in the Netherlands. Skating historian Huub Snoep said that skating in April may not have happened since the 17th century.
However meteorologist Alfred Snoek, from Weerplaza, told the broadcaster skating definitely took place at the Schildmeer in Groningen on April 1, 2013, but it was a short lap skated by two thrill seekers early in the morning.
"We gave it a lot of thought,” said ice master Hendrik ten Prooije, "but we thought we should try it. This is so completely unique. Skating on natural ice for the first time in April."
Schaatsplezier (onder toeziend oog van veel media belangstelling voor uniek schaatsgebeuren)op natuurijs wonderbaan in Winterswijk pic.twitter.com/GVpkafi2nH— WimRuesink (@WimRuesink) April 3, 2022
Winterswijk. Schaatsen op natuurijs in april; unicum in het moderne tijdperk. pic.twitter.com/FTafE5yFef— WimRuesink (@WimRuesink) April 3, 2022
Ook jeugd geniet volop van schaatsplezier in Winterswijk, schaatsen met sneeuw pic.twitter.com/GqrYh2xHoT— WimRuesink (@WimRuesink) April 3, 2022
Aprilletje zoet geeft de schaatsers in Winterswijk moet. Jong en oud genoten van unieke schaatsmogelijkheid, schaatsen op natuurijs in april. pic.twitter.com/r1YwNRCAC3— WimRuesink (@WimRuesink) April 3, 2022