It's a freaky feeling when you can see the bottom of the lake

I don’t invite danger but I don’t always run in the other direction. Even when I know I should. And even in situations where the ‘I’ve been here before’ radar is going off the chart and historically it hasn’t worked out well, I still don’t back away. Part of me says be sensible, the other part says ‘sensible is boring’. There’s also a little bit that says ‘your sensible wife will most likely give you THAT look’.

So danger it is, because I believe that in 90% of cases the only thing that’s dangerous is your own fear of the situation. Hesitation is what often gets people hurt, and I learned that lesson well from surfing and skating for many years. Of course, I’m not saying anyone should be downright stupid and take idiotic risks with their life, like going on a cross-country crime spree or couch surfing in the back of a van, I’m just saying sometimes it’s healthy to stare that danger down and say, while standing tall, you’re more scared of me than I am of you (even if secretly you don’t mean it).

So I get to the point of this week’s little adventure – skating on natural ice at one of the many outdoor ice skating venues in the Canterbury area. Lake Ida is probably the best around and most consistent of the lakes but does involve a bit of a hike from the carpark, which is even further if the Mt Olympus skifield is closed. Either way, I’m keen for it, simply because I’ve never been before and that’s reason enough for me. I have made attempts before but conditions conspired against us, and you have such a limited window of opportunity, which passes quickly leaving you making plans for next year, or the year after.

Of course, there are the common sentiments from others that outdoor skating on a lake must be dangerous, and I guess that could be true. But there’s also a danger of being bored to death and I know if I’m going out, I want to go out in a way that has a touch more panache than ‘here lies a man who died of well nothing’. Apparently there are rumours if you fall into a frozen lake it does suck you down, possibly into a portal that takes you to another dimension. I guess if nothing else you could defend yourself and hunt for food using your skates. But danger aside, I’m going, following the golden rule of stay in the middle where the ice is always thickest and if you feel the ice breaking beneath you, do what any other self-respecting human being would do and grab the nearest small child to help slow your descent, while simultaneously raising the alarm.

Here’s a little sneak look at some of the amazing conditions they get out at Lake Ida (courtesy of Aardwolfs Lake Ida page):

So aside from the necessary snacks and hot drinks, and whacking stick if I do get sucked through to another dimension, we’re all set for this Saturday. We’ve been checking the ice reports and it seems like it’s all go. I’ve dropped my skates off at Alpine Ice for sharpening, bought Crystal some ex-rentals, set for pickup this Friday. Actually the whole thing almost went a bit dog at that point. Some grumpy lady at the Zamboni cafe wanted to cancel my dream even after I’d made all the arrangements with Kim from the Skate School. Fortunately as we were walking out nice guy Brynn chased us down and put everything right. Nice. And while we’re on the subject of customer success stories, Caroma finally sorted out our leakable taps the other day when another nice guy Andrew fixed them all up, organised by yet another nice guy Tristan the local Caroma rep. It took awhile but we got there in the end and that’s what counts for me.

So it’s all go for Saturday (which incidentally is also the day Ridley Scott wants to capture a slice of everyone‘s day on film for his next movie – I might have something for you fella!) – got skates, snowboard, sleds (thanks Scott!) and other bits and pieces. Danger, ha I laugh in the face of danger …

Skating on thin ice – and looking forward to it

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