Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
Dragon ready to go 7

How To Survive The Winter

26 October 2017, 12:00

Erik Bodin can't be in Little Dragon in the month of February any more. He's got his eyes set on the Swedish speedskating championships. He writes about the addictive beauty passed down through his family, and his invaluable new Lycra purchase.

In Gothenburg where I’m from I grew up with a restless father who always looked for adventurous thrills. Every season of the year had its own thing to offer. But the season above all others was and still is the winter.

We don’t usually have lots of snowfall but we have plenty of ice. Every weekend my father would call the Göteborgs Långfärdskridskoklubb, or in English, the Gothenburg Long Trip Ice Skating Club. They had a service where all members could call in information about ice thickness and how smooth it was.

If there was a big lake, or even better a part of the ocean coast, that had good conditions my father would be long gone before the rest of the family had woken up. He always had a rucksack with all the gear ready packed, just like a fireman has his truck always ready to leave at any moment. My father would take me to the ice rink as a small boy to get the skating into my system. I don’t think my mom agreed, but one day I was old enough according to my father to come along and skate the real natural ice.

This long-distance skating thing is common in Sweden and I’m no unique example growing up like this. The sensation of putting on those extra long blades and getting into the mentality of the slow and long strides is something very addictive. The sensation of speed as you move in slowmotion is indescribable. With razor-sharp blades on a blank surface in the winter mist where ice and sky float together it really feels like flying. Of course being the next generation of a restless thrill seeking soul I felt the responsibility to pass it on to my kids. Last winter my oldest daughter did her first voyage with the same skates as I did.

I don’t know if I’m extremely stubborn or what, but I had to take it further. By accident me and my father skated at the 400 meter speed skating oval in Gothenburg the same night as the dedicated speed skaters in their lycra onepieces trained. I had of course seen it on TV but to see a human fly by in 50 km/h on a pair of skates in realtime is something else. Of course I had to do it as well. Every time the winter ends in late March I am now very impatiently waiting for the summer to end, at the gym getting strong so that the temperatures can drop down under freezing point and I skate faster than last year.

Skating is very hard. You have to stand on one leg as much as you possibly can. You have to push the long sharp blade through the ice, forcing it to paint a wave in the ice with every stride. You body has to be as small as possible not letting the wind catch your chest. After years of skating in running gear with wind breaking jackets, my club mates had enough of my noise. I sounded like a loose sail in the wind. "You are losing seconds mate!"

My most valuable clothes besides the South African tunika I got married in is my speed skate suit. Lycra over the arms and lower legs and black rubber on all of the rest. I look like a hippie trapped in a seal's body. But I'm flying silent as a sailing albatross. I simply can’t be a part of this organic electro synth ambient funk band in the month of February anymore. I'm aiming for gold in the veteran swedish speed skating championships by that time.

Little Dragon are currently touring the UK, in support of their latest album Season High. Information and tickets here.
Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next