Ice Season Meltdown!
Sometimes the sense of freedom we get from skating makes us feel immune to the world's troubles.
But this winter's disrupted ice skating season melts that delusion.
As the result of unusually warm weather — no doubt the result of global warming — the North American ice marathon season is scrambling to avoid meltdown.
One of its eventd (the Dimon Sports Marathon in Lake Placid, NY) was rained on; another (the Bytown Ice Marathon in Ottawa) has been postponed; and still another (the Vermont Ice Marathon, scheduled for Jan. 13) was canceled outright.
"Mother Nature has not cooperated with us," Vermont event organizer Hilary Linehan announced in an email. "After extremely warm temperatures and lots of rain, there is virtually NO ice on Lake Morey, and many other lakes in the area."
To safeguard its annual championships (Feb. 3-4), the marathon organizers have moved the event to the Oval in Lake Placid, with its guaranteed sheet of refrigerated ice.
The event was originally planned for Mirror Lake. But rain last weekend "opened up a hole on the lake," organizer Rod Willmot said. And more warm weather is in the forecast.
Not only ice marathons are feeling the heat. The Winterlude festival in Ottawa is considering a switch to inline skating if the summery weather continues.
The 28-year-old event has always featured ice skating on the frozen Rideau Canal, the world's longest skating rink. But this year, there's no ice.
"If people cannot skate on the Rideau Canal skateway, we will invite them to do inline skating on the Queen Elizabeth [Driveway] or to bike or to jog," organizer Guy Laflamme told the Globe newspaper.
Inline skaters may welcome the warmer winter. But look out!
Scientists say that if global warming continues, the Greenland glacier and polar ice caps will melt. In that case, many of our cherished multi-use trails (not to mention our homes) in coastal areas will be underwater.
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson
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