Distance Skating: Winter’s Newest Edge
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There’s something immensely appealing about lacing up a pair of skates with long, thin blades and soaring so fast on ice that your snot freezes. I’m not alone in my feelings; participation in distance skating is growing, across open ponds and lakes and on manicured 400-meter outdoor ovals. The two biggest reasons for the sport’s newfound popularity in North America? Winter vacation spots are embracing it as an alternative to snow sports—especially during dry years—and people are discovering that it uses almost the same technique as cross-country skate-skiing. There is, however, a quantum leap in the thrill factor: In skate-skiing you can occasionally work up to Mach speeds, whereas in distance skating you consistently shatter the sound barrier.