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Winter is coming, and if the Swedish Meteorologic and Hydrologic Institute (SMHI) is to be believed, it is going to be even colder than last year.

For reference, last year in Sweden was one of the coldest on record -- lake Vättern froze in a radius of 30 km or so around Jönköping, and I've seen speed skaters crossing the waters from Bankeryd to Huskvarna -- a good 5-10 km run. I tried skating myself, for the first time in my life, and that.. didn't end too well, but it was tons of fun.

I'm sure somebody titled this photo "My first skating lesson" Image source - my private collection

This year, I'm much more prepared, and since it's so much more fun than a regular ice rink, I was wondering which lakes in southern Sweden (everything in a radius of 300 km around Jönköping) freeze routinely and are used for ice skating in the winter.

Since my friends and I are fairly new to this, I'd like to stick to more frequented lakes, to be able to get assistance if needed.

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3 Answers 3

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The site skridsko.net is crowd sourcing information about skating in all regions of sweden. You can search there when it starts to get cold enough. I live in the Stockholm area and here municipalities provide with skating lanes on a couple of lakes and also have information on their home pages about the avilability and ice quality. The lake Norrviken north of Stockholm is a good choice for newcomers to the game. You can choose between 3.5, 7, 10.5 and 14 kms tracks. The very best - of course - is when there hasn't been any snow yet and you can skate all over the lake but that is very seldom.

I would guess that vättern - a very deep lake - is less likely to freeze over compared to other lakes. Many winters there is no skating at all in southern sweden but the last 2 ones have been exceptional both for skiing and skating.

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I know that Lake Mälaren, in downtown Stockholm, is accessible to ice skaters in winter. But Google Maps disqualifies it as being 324km far from Jönköping.

And for assistance or guided tours on natural ice, you can check Ice Guide.

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I included the 300 km radius to give some sort of idea which region I'm interested in. 25 km more or less is not really a problem. –  mindcorrosive Oct 24 '11 at 12:43

I'm not in Sweden and I've only seen Vättern in summer, but I've been reading a lot about skating in Sweden.

Here is an on-line guide of skating lakes to the north-east.

NOTE: In the chapter on Vättern it says that IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE to go out on Vättern if wind speed is over 6 m/sec (about 20 km/hr or 10 knots) because the ice tends to break up. The wide part of the lake only freezes over about one year in six.

It is strongly recommended that one join a skating club that knows what they are doing. As others have suggested check the club list on skridsko-net. Try SVL or a local chapter of Friluftsfrämjandet.

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