Figure skating in the mountains of British Columbia

Elizabeth Putnam is a prize-winning Canadian figure skater, and in these videos she was helicoptered by Brad Friesen up to a frozen lake in the mountains of British Columbia. The altitude is reported to be about 5000 feet, and the ice, though clear, about 5 feet thick.

I can’t imagine a more wonderful experience for a skater.

Here’s another video; I can’t make out if the skater is the same, but the outfit is different:

31 Comments

  1. Mark Reaume
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I really should get out more and see more of my own country. Southern Ontario’s landscape is so dull.

    • Mark
      Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I’m also in southern Ontario, lived in BC for 10 years, why did I ever come back!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Because you love grey skies in the winter and the inevitable freeze-thaw-slush cycle.

    • Vaal
      Posted January 31, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      (As a Toronto resident) I know what you mean, relative to the natural wonders to our North, East and West. Though I do love the lake and some other nice areas (e.g. Brickworks).

      On the other hand, being more of a city guy, most other Canadian cities are dull in comparison to Toronto 🙂

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 31, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        I grew up near Lake Ontario and worked in a park on it throughout university. I miss the Lake.

        Not happy with this extra grey winter either. I am grumpy because of it.

  2. George
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I think she may have been inspired by what has been called the most Canadian photograph ever – a mountie in serge playing hockey in the mountains.
    http://globalnews.ca/news/1898624/a-truly-canadian-moment-bc-mountie-reflects-on-how-a-personal-photo-of-him-playing-hockey-has-gone-viral/

    ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 30, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      A zamboni clearing the ice would have made that picture even more Canadian!

      • starskeptic
        Posted January 31, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        Not the Zamboni that went through the Tim Horton’s drive-through?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 1, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          That one would need to be driven by a Mountie to up the Canadian factor.

  3. Mark
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this Jerry. This may now be number one on my bucket list as a hockey player to get up there for a game of “shinny” (an informal game of pick-up hockey, usually/best played on an outdoor rink).

  4. Janet
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    As a kid in Ohio, we lived near a small lake that froze in the winter and we’d take our skates there and skate. No adults even checked that the ice was thick enough (life was different then) – and it surely did not look as clear and beautiful as the ice Elizabeth Putnam is skating on, but we had a blast. Thank you for a lovely video.

  5. Kevin
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh 🇨🇦

  6. Anna
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Loved it! Thank you for posting. Super natural British Columbia, indeed.

  7. darrelle
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful!

    Boba Fett was a nice touch too.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    … the skater is the same, but the outfit is different …

    Don’t know why (ok, maybe I do), but your mentioning the skater’s change of outfit made me think of how Katarina Witt, who seemed like such a cold fish in winning all her Olympic gold, came out during the closing gala in ’88, wearing a studded leather outfit, and did a routine to Michael Jackson’s “Bad.”

    Gal damn near melted the ice with that one.

  9. John
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful

  10. rickflick
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    As a boy growing up in Toronto, dad would flood the back yard every winter so we could skate (first with ankles flat against the ice). Later in Michigan, I used to hang with some boys who played hockey with just sticks to mark the goals.

    Later still I learned to fly(fixed wing). The same type of eyes covered practice for unusual configurations and recovery are given. I can sure attest to the disorientation that can spin your head so you don’t know what’s up and down.

    • rickflick
      Posted January 30, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      My later paragraph refers to a film behind the second one above: “Blind Flight With Bradley Friesen”.

  11. Stephen Barnard
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    This is the Hermoni, reverse engineered from a Zamboni by a guy named Herman. It’s used to groom the ice rink in Stanley, Idaho (elevation 6,253′), probably one of the most extraordinary natural ice rinks anywhere, at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains.

    P1720647

    P1720655

    P1720657

    • rickflick
      Posted January 30, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Amazing.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 31, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Love it.

  12. Billy Bl.
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Boy, that ice looked pretty good. I’ve skated on a lot of lakes and rivers but rarely got ice that smooth.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted January 31, 2017 at 3:27 am | Permalink

      Two or three times while we lived near the Rideau River south of Ottawa, a cold snap would precede the first snow of winter to give this result. Memorable. One time we were able to skate for miles and miles.

      What the pilot said about the funny feeling you get when you can see the bottom down below you? First time I’ve heard someone else mention it. I went out to clear a bit of snow off the river ice when I got home from work. It was unsettling to seem to be suspended in the dark over what I knew wasn’t open water.

  13. JohnnieCanuck
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    This little lake is unnamed in Google Earth but is 600 metres to the NW of Vickers Peak, which is.

    49°35’48.04″N
    122°31’22.89″W

    In Google Earth, click on the green symbol for Vickers Peak and then select the ‘Fly on a Tour’ link to get a neat perspective, almost like you were in a helicopter.

    This Link is a .kmz that might take you right there if you have Google Earth installed.

  14. Mobius
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Definitely not the same skater in the second clip. Still good, but not the professional that Putnam is.

  15. Scott
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Sorry in advance:

    “The altitude is reported to be about 1524m, and the ice, though clear, about 1.524m thick.”

  16. Posted January 31, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful.

  17. Vaal
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    That was wonderful.

    It amazes me how much production value can be created so cheaply now, with the availability of drones, go pro etc. The kind of sweeping God’s-eye shots used to be the providence of big budget movies.

  18. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Why do they call it “figure skating” when the only figure they make is an “8” or a “0”?

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted January 31, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      There used to be an event called “school figures” in which skaters made quite intricate and precise patterns. It’s gone by the wayside.

  19. Rhonda
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Those videos are incredible! I got a bit emotional watching them. Thank you, Jerry!


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