Something Swedish

(Not) Ice Skating in Sweden

4 Comments

If you ask people that have never been to Sweden what it’s like they will most likely say something about it being cold and having a lot of snow.

A winter wonderland. Picturesque landscapes of cute red houses covered in a blanket of white snow.

When I started visiting Sweden it was always in the winter and the one thing I wanted to do was go ice skating. It would be so romantic and memorable: ‘I went ice skating on a frozen lake in Sweden with the love of my life’. Upon spotting the first outdoor ice rink I saw on my first day in Gothenburg I excitedly asked my then-boyfriend-now-husband to skate with me, even if it wasn’t a lake (I was a little scared of that part anyway).

Alas, it didn’t happen.  And to this day, it still hasn’t.

It couldn’t. Because of ice skates.

stock-footage-ice-skating

Stock Photo

Apparently it’s not easy to find a place that rents out ice skates in Sweden.  It’s just not a thing – or at least not anymore. This boggled my mind because in New York you can rent ice skates no matter where you go. It’s almost like renting bowling shoes; if you go to a bowling ally to bowl, or if you go to skating rink to ice skate, a few bucks will get you the equipment you need. They aren’t always the most comfortable or beautiful looking skates and sometimes felt a bit dirty putting them on, but they are available. Not in Sweden – at least according to what people have told me and what I have seen (more so in Stockholm, if I understand correctly, although 4/6 on this website do not provide rentals: Ice skating in Stockholm).

I have very fond memories of ice skating with friends and family at different (indoor and outdoor) rinks throughout New York. If someone is bored and looking for something fun and spontaneous to do with some friends “lets go ice skating” isn’t an option because someone would be left out (especially expats, most probably not having grown up having to own a pair of ice skates). What if someone doesn’t know how to skate and just wants to try something new without spending a ton of money? What about tourists? I had the option the buy custom made skates years ago and thought it would be a waste of money because ice skating is seasonal. And now that I’m in a country where that season is longer, I am regretting that decision. Of course there are cheaper options than buying brand new ice skates, if you are lucky enough to find your size at second hand shops like Amnesty, Röda Korset (The Red Cross) , Myrorna (Salvation army), or garage sales.

photo 2 (2)I was reading the local paper today and an article about ice skates piqued my attention, reminding me that it might be something to write about. This article is about the exclusion of children on school trips that don’t have their own ice skates. Since ice rinks in Sweden no longer provide rental skates (Because of some missing equipment according to this article) there is no way for kids to participate in fun activities with their friends and classmates if their parents don’t have the money to buy them ice skates. The best the school can do is send out a letter asking parents of other students if they have extra skates for students that don’t have any. The man in the photo decided that this isn’t enough and kids should never be left out. He set out do something about it and rallied up companies and private persons to provide ice skate and helmet rentals (to school kids only) in Halmstad once again.

I think it’s a good start.

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4 thoughts on “(Not) Ice Skating in Sweden

  1. This isn’t something I’d thought of previously! All the school age kids here own skates (even if they don’t skate more than twice a year, which is strange to me), so I guess they don’t assume the rental market will be big. I know that they do rent them at Kunstradgården in Stockholm, but that’s the only place I’ve seen so far. I teach figure skating just outside of downtown Stockholm and we rent skates, but only to those in the classes. I’d suggest you go to Intersport or somewhere similar to try some on for exact sizes (skates can be weird) and then maybe look on Blocket or Tradera for cheap used ones to start with? Otherwise, there are some cheap new pairs here as well: http://www.pricerunner.se/cl/307/Skridskoaakning?attr_55992970=58131740&attr_58131742=58131744

    Good luck!!

  2. Bit late to comment but some rinks do rent them out. The Kungsbacka one does, for example. They just don’t advertise it so you have to ask. I thought Liseberg did too? But also, you can buy skates for just 200:- – not even $30 (got mine at Coop Forum). And there are hundreds of second hand pairs on facebook forums and blocket. And yes, some kids don’t own skates and some of their classmates bring in extra pairs – but in my experience that’s always worked out. I think it’s worse when there is a class bicycle trip. The expectation that everyone has a bike is weird for me.

  3. I have always had my own skates and skis. And all of them have been second hand. Nothing wrong with that. But growing up it was like for most people second hand was not even an option. They thought it was weird to have pre-owned things. I live up in the north and it is kind of insane how much money parents spent on hockey-equipment. Happily enough most people no longer have that sniffy attitude towards second hand stuff.

    At my school we also had things to borrow in the beginning. But some kids seemed to have no respect what so ever and just had to break everything that got in their way. After a couple of years the school had to remove the option to borrow. I understand why and I do not want my tax-money to buy expensive stuff that a few kids enjoy destroying. However I do think it’s sad for all those children that do not learn how to skate or ski because of it. I’m lucky to have parents who took pride in learning their children all sorts of outdoor activities. Teachers have very small possibilities to punish bad behavior in this country, in the long run this affects everyone of us.

  4. Hi,

    I am new to Stockholm, Sweden. I am looking for Ice Skating Classes in Stockholm during weekends. I eagerly want to learn. #

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