Nordic Ice Skating is a matter of life
To understand Nordic Ice Skating you need to take a step beyond the simple concept of sport. We must abandon ourselves to a series of images, of sensations.
We need to think of bodies immersed in nature, of blades that plow through an ice in constant, ineluctable movement, to eyes dazzled by Nordic sunlight, cradled by orderly broad-leaved woods, to fjords and lakes that become great highways directed towards the conscience of each of us.
On these immense stretches of frozen water you don’t have to compete, it’s not necessary. It would be almost deleterious to do so: a lack of respect for a precious visual symphony. It’s enough to abandon yourself, to abandon worries and the past, rationality and deadlines.
In a whirlwind contemporary society, marked by work anxiety, clouded by social overexposure and the dangerous need to appear, Nordic Ice Skating represents a temporary cancellation of all these paradigms. Miles of solid waterways push these explorers more and more into themselves, into a world that has been forgotten for too long.
In Norway masks and superstructures are removed, superficiality is gone. This process is explained to us by Per Sollerman, a Nordic Ice skater who decided to change his life, quitting his job and starting to skate with a camera on his back.
We contacted him, collecting some suggestive photographic shots and a genuine speech.
What does Nordic Ice Skating represent for you? What are the experiences you can live through this sport?
One of the best things I have experienced since I started with Nordic Ice Skating is all these nice people I have gotten to know. Young and old, what binds us together is the fascination for the ice, the nature experiences and to go on a trip. Preferably with an overnight stay by a lake and a large bonfire. Nordic Ice Skating for me is to be present, a kind of here and now feeling. Because you always have to be focused out there on the ice, it is a kind of meditation where you shut everything else out. The energy and calm come quietly.
What kind of relationship is established between nature and a Nordic Ice skater? And how does photography fit into this?
When I was young I was a skater and I remember in the winters in my hometown that I often saw these old men with backpacks and a long pole..and the skates. I thought they looked so silly and that this was something only old men were doing and that I would never try..When I first tested Nordic Ice Skating about 10 years ago, it all fell into place. I got the thrill and planning of the route from the climb. The close experience of being one with elements from the kayak. And the peace of going for a walk in the woods. It was the absolute best thing I had ever done and thought I should have started much earlier. That’s why I always have a camera, drone or GoPro with me on the ice. I want others to discover this beauty much earlier than I did.
What are the thoughts of a Nordic Ice skater during his excursions?
If we travel slowly or very fast on the ice, it is important to be focused regardless. Ice is fantastic but it is clearly an element of excitement if the ice bears. We use sight and hearing to read the ice. Before we decide where to go, we look at satellite images and weather forecasts to create a picture and idea of how the ice has settled. Because the beauty of ice is that two days on the ice are not the same. Ice is dynamic and under constant development, and in particular, it’s ever-evolving. The incredible black blue ice from one day can be something completely different a few days later. This means that you have to constantly treat ice as something that you (literally) have never encountered before.
What advice would you give to those who would like to enter this special world?
Have respect for natural ice, it’s under constant development. Your ‘eyes’ on the ice are your ice pikes. Listen to the ice’s clang, it reveals the thickness of newly formed ice. Ice knowledge take time to learn. Skate and learn from more experienced. Ask questions and be curious. Find out about your local club or organization, join an intro-day, take a course about ice knowledge and safety. But especially, skate a lot and test different types of ice
Per’s words were also portraied in a beautiful short film directed by Paulius Neverbickas.
PH & PHOTOGRAPHER Per Sollerman
IG @sollerman & @nordicskate
VIDEO Paulius Neverbickas
Dec 23, 2020
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