Summary of skating plurrs1 and injuries In Sweden (from  Skridskonätet)

The winter 2009/2010 was unusually cold and produced an extended coating of ice. However the frequent and heavy falls of snow resulted in fewer skating tours than the former season. A number of incidents where skaters got themselves stuck on ice floes were reported from Lake Vänern, Lake Vättern and along the Swedish Baltic coast. In two cases the skaters had to save themselves by swimming to shore fast ice. From the Swedish west coast there were also reports on ice breaking apart and drifting away. Ice not sheltered by islands should be regarded as hazardous to skate on. A good advice is not to skate there.

Most plurrs1 conducted by the members of the Skridskonätet went without complications or drama, most likely thanks to well-functioning rescue methods and equipment used. In several incidents the possibility to attach a safety cord to the person in the water by a snap-hook has been a valuable improvement of the rescue operation. We like to emphasize the importance of relevant equipment and the ability to use it. It means that practicing the use of the equipment and rescue operation practice in cold and in tempered waters are essential to safety on the ice. Another safety asset is to tour the ice in groups, since more persons mean more resources for assistance in a rescue situation. Furthermore, on several occasions members of Skridskonätet successfully has rescued or assisted persons in distress on the ice or in the water.

In spite of adequate equipment, knowledge and company on the ice there are situations which are identified as potentially dangerous and well worth attention and respect. Such situations are:

  • Simultaneous plurrs of many skaters. This is particularly important in small groups.
  • Far out on thin ice or on narrow ice bridges.
  • Ice cap in danger of breaking up due to wind, current or waves.
  • Ice affected by spring sun and high temperatures; ice that can rapidly lose all strength.

The most frequent serious injuries during the season where fractures on shoulders, arms and hands, due to falling on the ice. This season many down falls where caused by snow obstructions on the ice. It is important to adapt the speed to the ice conditions and to train skating techniques and balance. A recommendation is to use helmet.  

Note 1: The Swedish term ”plurr” is used when someone unintentionally goes through the ice or falls into open water.

Link to the full report (with a summary in English)