Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Midsummer. Tampere. Getting desperate with no snow around. I am at the ice hockey capital of Finland, but even the ice skating rinks have closed for the summer, and it seems impossible to find even that small pile of snow that the rinks produce as a side effect of maintaining their ice.

But no matter. I will instead turn to doing something I have wanted to do for a while: testing skiing on dry ice. There's a claim in the Internet that dry ice isn't slippery. I want to know if that is true. So in Mythbusters style I have built a small test slope. I plan to put some dry ice on it and see if it I can ski it.

I acquired 15 kilos of dry ice pellets from our local supplier. Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide, at the temperature of -79 Celsius. In other words, hellishly cold stuff. If you play with it, be very careful. It can cause burns, similar to hot objects.

I now ready for the test. Indeed, people on the Internet were wrong! Dry ice does slide! Not as well as regular ice, but it definitely slides. Not that this is particularly surprising. You can ski on rocks, sand, and grass if the slope is steep enough, so why not on dry ice? But dry ice is slippery enough under plastic skis that even a very mild steepness works, as we had on our test slope. By adding water, dry ice becomes more slippery.


If you do happen to find snow in Tampere, you should know that the local hot dog stands may want to sell you some black sausage or "musta makkara". Avoid this at all costs.

Video and photo credits (c) 2013 by Jari Arkko and Olli Arkko


  1. A friend on Epic sent me the link to your post. Mr. Crocker mentioned that they was someone crazier than me (personal, I don't find myself that crazy).

    Anyhow, being a geographer, your skiing habit are of interest to me. :)

  2. Oh yeah, we still have snow next to our rink (this is Canada afterall), and I've been close to try to make turns there to keep my monthly ski streak alive, but I've always preferred not going to that level...yet.

  3. Nice to hear from you madpatski! You should definitely enjoy the snow in the rink somehow :-)

    I just saw your blog, very interesting - I have to read through more of the articles! Where do you normally hang out? Maybe we could ski somewhere together, someday ...

    1. For the last 3 Winters, I've been "challenged" to remain mostly local with my oldest daughter's (15) ski racing plus both of us, what had health issues and other stuff to long to explain here. She races out of Edelweiss, 35km from downtown Ottawa. There are a hand full of small 200 meters ski areas around town, however Tremblant is 160km away, Whiteface (Lake Placid) is 250km and the Vermont border is about 350km.

      I'm currently looking into skiing for August/September, as I've been skiing at least once a month since October 2005. Due to my health issues, I won't be going to South America, I'll see how I feel in a few weeks and might make it for the Aug/Sept weekend at Mt.Hood?