January 13, 2009

Ice skates totally sold out

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 4:30 pm

It was bound to happen. People have been frantically trying to score new or second-hand skates for days, but alas, ice skates are totally sold out in the Netherlands, according to skate manufacturer Viking in Almere. On Monday Viking said it sold 75,000 pairs of skates, almost selling everything it had in stock.

The last two weeks were extremely busy days at Viking. Even on Monday, when the thaw set it, they were still selling skates. The buzz is that sometime around Thursday it is going to freeze again and we can all go out skating. I do hope so because I had a lot of fun skating on the canal. The picture above depicts my *ahem* custom-made French Canadian figure skates, which cost a bundle back when I was training at 5:30 am in the morning three times a week. Yes, I fell once already, thank you. However, if you want to buy Viking skates, you’ll have to wait until summer when they will make more.

Even finding a place to get my skates sharpened was not easy, but thanks to Twitter, I found a bike shop down the street that sharpens skates.

In the meantime, there’s always that huge Indoor skating rink they opened in Enschede.

(Link: z24.nl, Photo: Jeroen)

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January 11, 2009

Thaw to set in

Filed under: General,Sports by Branko Collin @ 2:29 pm

No Elfstedentocht for now. National weather institute KNMI predicts that Monday a period of thaw will set in, with wind coming from the South and from the South West. That also means that the country will not have had an official cold wave, which in the Netherlands is defined as at least five consecutive days of frost of which three dip below -10 degrees.

Somebody who won’t be skating for a while anyway is Eimer van Middelkoop: the defense minister broke his wrist during a 30 kilometer skating tour between Bleiswijk and Zevenhuizen, according to Nu.nl (Dutch).

Skating madness held the country in its grip the past weeks, but with the temperature dipping the lowest in the South, the madness spilled over to Belgium. The spokesperson for Vereniging De Friesche Elf Steden, the organizer of the Elfstedentocht, told BN/De Stem (Dutch) that most foreign journalistic attention stems from our Southern neighbours. One fanatic Belgian skater and past participant in the Elfstedentocht, Henri Jaecques, argues in Het Nieuwsblad (Dutch) that Flanders should have its own mythical skate race. “From Sluis to Ieper, 200 kilometer, and perfectly skateable.” The first part of that trajectory, a 16 kilometer strip from Sluis to Brugge, was declared officially open to skaters this weekend, according to De Telegraaf (Dutch).

Photo top: a chair in IJburg, Amsterdam awaiting the next novice skater or an ever grimmer fate.

Photo bottom: a frozen Noorderamsterkanaal.

Link: Weer.nl (Dutch).

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