From ice sailing to ice diving – active holiday with an adrenaline kick

Europe Active in winter

These adrenaline kicks make you forget any cold

Do you fancy ice and snow but don’t want to ski? We have interesting suggestions for active holidays when the temperatures are below zero – they range from ice sailing to ice diving.

Status: 04:19 a.m. | Reading time: 3 minutes

Ice cold speed frenzy

Racing across the frozen lakes of Masuria with the ice sailing yacht – makes your feet cold, but happy. WELT editor Sönke Krüger tried it out.

Ice sailing in Masuria

ÜSailing over lakes is not only possible in summer – also in winter, provided the lake is frozen thick enough and the ice is flat and smooth. Then you can rush over the ice with ice sailors – a kind of sailing dinghy with razor-sharp runners.

A helmet as head protection and warm clothing are important, because the sailing sled is so fast that the sharp wind and cold cut into the face. But at 100 km / h, so much adrenaline flows through the body that you forget about freezing.

One of the best areas for ice sailing in Europe is the Masurian Lake District in northeastern Poland with the towns of Nikolaiken (Mikolajki) on Lake Spirding and Rotwalde (Rydzewo) on Lake Löwentin. Ice sailing has a long tradition in the area: the Masurian ice sailing weeks became the largest ice sailing event in Europe from 1929, when Masuria was still part of Germany.

An ice glider on the Spirdingsee in Masuria

Source: PA / DUMONT picture archive / Peter Hirth

Today, not only Poland’s ice sail elite race across the ice, but also international audiences. If you do not have your own ice sailor, you can hire a vehicle and the corresponding accessories on site and book courses – provided the ice situation permits. Because, unlike in 1929, when minus 42 degrees were measured in Masuria, there is no longer a frost guarantee here (,

Ice diving in Carinthia

The Weissensee in Carinthia offers unusual perspectives – you can explore it under its ice cover as a diver. The water is crystal clear, the view extends up to 30 meters. If the ice is free of snow, sun rays break in the ice and perform fascinating light shows underwater.

Diving in Austria: The water in the Weissensee in Carinthia is crystal clear

Ideal for divers: the water in Weissensee in Carinthia is crystal clear

Source: Lechner

Particularly insane: in good lighting conditions, you can watch walkers and skaters through the up to 40 centimeters thick layer of ice from the water. On the other hand, you hardly see any fish, they hibernate further down near the bottom.

Several local diving schools offer ice diving courses for guests with a diving license, including beginners. Under water you are secured with a rope that points the way back to the hole and also serves for communication in an emergency. The dive should not last longer than 35 minutes, even the best diving suit does not isolate you any longer (;,

Ice skating in Finland

If you are bored of endless rounds on a skating rink, the Saimaa is the right place, Finland’s largest lake not far from the Russian border. It freezes over regularly in winter, then Finland’s largest ice skating area is created here on exposed, up to 40 km long ice paths. The longest route measures 18 kilometers, but you can also choose shorter routes or pre-order a pick-up service that will collect you at your destination and bring you back to the hotel.

In winter, the Saimaa is Finland's largest ice skating area

In winter, the Saimaa is Finland’s largest ice skating area


There are many ice skaters on the lake, but also vigorous retirees with cross-country poles (like Nordic walking) and even whole families who sometimes push a stroller in front of them or pull the offspring behind in a sled.

In between, you can have a picnic on the ice (you have to carry the provisions backpack yourself, don’t forget hot tea!) Or warm up at fire pits on the shore. The natural ice area is safe, the strength of the ice sheet is checked regularly.

There are still holes in the ice – for the hard-boiled, ice bathing is also offered on the Saimaa in winter. This is not for everyone, but to cool off after a sauna session is a refreshing, unforgettable experience – and as befits Finland, there are plenty of sweat lodges and smoke saunas at the Saimaa (,

also read

Finnish sauna ceremonies: Matti Kemi (left) and Juha Kumara with homemade birch rods

Magical natural spectacle in the sky over Finland

Source: WELT / Sebastian Struwe

This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home regularly.

WELT AM SONNTAG from February 23, 2020



Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.