Sylvia Lake December waterski weekend - and what (not) to wear

I grew up in Longyearabyen, Spitzbergen, the world’s northmost society, where the water temperature during the summer tends to be around 4 deg C / 39 deg F. I will not go into details about crazy youth weekend baths under the midnight sun, apart from revealing that their duration was always short. Very short. Like in and then out again, as fast as you didn’t even think you could move. Some would even scream hysterically while running for warmth and safety. I must admit one of them was me. So I thought i knew about human limits when it comes to cold water. How wrong we can be!

The water temperature at Sylvia Lake this weekend was 3 deg C / 39 deg F. Air temperature was luckily up to 6 deg C / 43 deg F - the days before the weekend it had been lower, and the forecast for the weekend had looked threatening. I arrived at the Lake late on Friday night. So nice to be back, always the same friendly atmosphere here, be it summer and 30 deg C / 86 deg F or winter and about 25 deg C less. A nice surprise: Duska and Bruno had driven up from Belgrade for the weekend, so in one way it almost felt like a summer weekend, apart from the fact that now they were not busy the whole day running a competition.

Saturday was overcast, but with zero wind, so very skiable. Only Gabor and I skied this day, Bruno had left his ski in Belgrade. After skiing and one of Sylvia´s wonderful breakfasts, Sylvia, Duska and I went shopping. And Bruno too, he was our driver. I think he spent a lot of time waiting, but well, both men and water skiers need to do lot of waiting, so if you see it from the bright (female) side it was a great 2-in-one-opportunity to practice. After shopping and coffee we headed for the Christmas market in Budapest, where Gabor joined us. This market is one of the nicest there is, and highly recommended, but remember to dress warm, and that means REALLY warm, preferably so warm that you look fat!

Sunday morning the sun was back in its place, and Bettina, Sandor and Zoltan came to ski as well, so the number of skiers was back to about the same as on a «normal» summer-training-weekend. You may wonder what to wear for waterskiing when the water temperature is around 3 deg C. The answer is that it varies from skier to skier - and a lot more than you might think. Let me begin with Andy, the biggest chicken around here when it comes to protection against the cold, she is just warming up all day long, and never goes into the water.


Then myself, the second biggest chicken: I was quite comfortable in my 5/4mm winter steamer, and with my hood, wool socks inside my liners and my cold-water-mittens (you wear them on top of the ordinary gloves, to keep your fingers warm(er) and to protect your hands from the wind). And as always before skiing in cold conditions, I used this magic cold-water-warm-hands-trick!


Bettina, Sandor and Zoltan wore long suits too, although some only 2 mm! Apart from Sandor - who wore a very thin swimming hood - nothing on their heads. And it didn’t seem to be the slightest problem for any of them. Hmm, I would die with pain, is it the age or am I damaged rather than hardened by my rough childhood and youth baths..


Photo: Bettina


And as for Gabor: well, he just skied in his shortie - I swear by my ski that it is true. In water holding 3 deg C / 37 deg F. And he too, nothing on his head! See the video below for proof. And by the way, as you will see: there is a hole in that shortie..



After the last ski set, Gabor put away the boat - still in his shortie..



And then it was sauna time! After the sauna, Sandor took a quick bath - but of course without the screaming! Then Sylvia took a crazy-cold-water-skiers-group-photo...



..and then - mmm - Sylvia-Lake-delicious-hamburger-time, like we got at the Canal Cup in September, and will maybe get again next year if we are lucky - made by Sylvia herself of course. I don’t eat much red meat, but his one is worth an exception!


Thank you dear Sylvia and Gabor, for another wonderful weekend in your (summer and winter) paradise!


And with this inside-and-ourside-sauna-happy-Christmas-music-dancing-waterski-video, Sylvia Lake and WaterskiSites.com wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!


PS: For copyright reasons, we can only show the sauna video to members, but if you are not a member and don´t want to become one, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year anyway!


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