Author Topic: Ice skating at altitude  (Read 616 times)


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Ice skating at altitude
« on: May 15, 2021, 02:22:52 pm »
UK's ice rinks are fairly low-lying.

Just for bragging rights, here are (roughly) the UK's top 10 highest rinks:

10. 98.0m | 321.5ft Dundee
09. 103.0m | 337.9ft Solihull
08. 106.0m | 347.8ft Swindon
07. 114.0m | 374.0ft Blackburn
06. 122.0m | 400.3ft Cannock
05. 124.0m | 406.8ft Bradford
04. 135.0m | 442.9ft Hemel Hempstead
03. 158.0m | 518.4ft Telford
02. 169.0m | 554.5ft Sutton-In-Ashfield
01. 176.0m | 577.4ft East Kilbride

Why would anybody want to know this? Well for some it could mean the difference of a world record:

Altitude is a limiting factor due to blood oxygen saturation levels:

Some higher overseas rinks;

831.0m | 2726.4ft Oberstdorf, Germany
1015.0m | 3330.1ft Villard-de-Lans, France
1544.0m | 5065.6ft Canillo, Andorra
1602.0m | 5255.9ft Zermatt, Switzerland
1769.0m | 5803.8ft St. Moritz, Switzerland

If you've skated at altitude what differences, if any, did you notice?

Sliding on frozen water is the easy part of ice skating.


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Re: Ice skating at altitude
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2021, 09:27:17 am »
Interesting.  I have skated at Oberstdorf and Arosa (1,775m) and I can't honestly say I noticed much difference, but I was concentrating more on technique than speed.  It's hard to tell in Oberstdorf because the ice is noticeable faster than any other rink I have skated on.

I felt out of breath just walking when I went to this place: (3,500m).

The ice mouse

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Re: Ice skating at altitude
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2021, 03:19:56 pm »
So I have skated at 7 of the highest UK rinks (including the highest)

I prefer frozen ice. I will try anything once. I


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Re: Ice skating at altitude
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2021, 09:47:59 am »
I used to skate at altitude every winter from age 15 onwards to 28. Can't say I ever really noticed a difference, other than practicing compulsory figures on an outside rink in the snow was a chilly waste of time!  ;D
Returned to the ice in Sept 2017 after a major leg injury in 1999. Skating in Risport Royal Pro and MK Gold Star. Still scary after all these years...


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Re: Ice skating at altitude
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2021, 11:11:31 pm »
Skated on dance courses in Arosa and Davos. Also used to skate on courses in Seefeld (1000m) and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Arosa was the most significant. That was in the summer. I (my partner was off-ice at the time) used to have an early morning walk from the campsite at one end of the village to the rink at the other - for a 7:00am start on ice.

I can't say the skating was significantly different, but it took a few days to acclimatise to the walk. Certainly felt fitter at the end of the week!

Even during the summer Davos had an outside, but covered (shaded) rink then which we used for practice.  It was very warm off-ice in the afternoon sun. Used to play 'spot the nationality'. Once had some English in 'Kiss me Quick' hats staggering around. We made certain not to be overheard in English.

We used to skate on Seefeld's outside rink in winter. Altitude wasn't the problem, and the snow was usually cleared. Cold ( down to -12C some evenings) meant you kept your boots in the warm changing room and wore plenty of thermals.

Some of our best ice-dance experiences.


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Re: Ice skating at altitude
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2021, 01:29:39 am »
Watch the Junior Grand Prix events held at Courchevel, France. Those young elite skaters were breathing very heavily. I will be following their progress on YouTube and am anticipating their scores to be higher in other legs of the series where they skate at lower altitudes.


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