Skating is not just both art and science. It is also music.

Take it from Marten Ajne who skates over precariously thin, black ice in a small lake in Lissma Kvarnsjo, Sweden.

He pricks the lake’s ice and measures its thickness.

“Forty-five millimeters,” Ajne tells National Geographic Travel. “It’s thick. Same as before, still more than enough.”

Wild ice skating or Nordic skating requires the thinnest, most pristine black ice possible.

Skaters need that for smoothness and the high-pitched, laser-like sounds it produces.

Ice as thin as 2 inches can still support the weight of a skater. But there are other factors to consider: temperature, atmospheric conditions, and even satellite images of the Earth’s surface.

It can be complicated but it’s what mathematicians like Ajne find appealing.

Experience and careful advanced planning are the keys.

There will always be the risk of falling so Nordic skating is best best done in groups.

But it doesn’t keep skaters like Ajne away from the black ice.

“If it doesn’t work, you learn from your mistake and try again,” he says.

Watch (and listen) as a Swedish mathematician skates on thin ice, creating a beautiful acoustic experience.

Posted by National Geographic Travel on Sunday, 23 December 2018


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