Is there a better way to celebrate winter prairie life and our scenic river valley than gliding around the largest skating pond in the city? The Silver Skate Festival invites you to lace up whatever kind of skates you have and join us at the Skate Races on the 5-hectare lake at Hawrelak Park.
The Silver Skate Festival presents the Skate Races with host partner the Edmonton Speed Skating Association. These races are among our festival's signature events and have their roots in the Europe - especially in the Netherlands, where long-distance speed skating is popular. Skaters use frozen lakes, canals, rivers, and ovals (both indoor and outdoor), and compete in races ranging from 10km to 200km.
*Please note: there will be no day-of registration
This year, skaters will be open to compete in the following races/categories:
NO DAY-OF REGISTRATION
Skate Races Start Times:
February 18 | 1 hour Competitive 9:00AM | 1 km Family Fun 11:00AM
February 19 | 5 km Competitive 9:00AM | 1 km Competitive 9:30AM | 1 km Family Fun 11:00AM | Kortebaan 2:00PM | Silver Sprints 3:00PM | Awards 3:30pm
* Sign-up and bib pick up are available one hour prior to the first race's start
In Europe, there is an active marathon speed skating professional circuit with races in the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Austria. The distance for marathon skate races range from 10km to 200km, depending on the venue and event. The most famous of these is the Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities tour), which is 200km through 11 cities of Friesland in the Netherlands. Since it rarely freezes in the Netherlands, most of the skating is done on outdoor refrigerated ovals. The 5km ice road in Biddinghuizen (the Netherlands) is the longest artificial ice road in the world and hosts many marathon skating events. The races and tours on the Weissensee lake in Austria are very popular, featuring signature 200km events as well as the Dutch championships.
In Canada and the USA the group Marathon Skating International (Facebook Group) supports marathon skating working with Speed Skating Canada and US Speed Skating to create the rules for marathon skating. Venues include St. Foix, Quebec (400m oval), Joliette, Quebec(river), Lake Placid New York (400m oval), Halifax(400m oval), Ft. St. John (400m indoor oval), Lake Morey Vermont, Calgary Olympic Oval (400m) Sylvan Lake Alberta, Hawrelak Park, Edmonton Alberta (lake), Portland Ontario (lake) and Ottawa Ontario(400m oval).
Internationally the future of marathon speed skating is bright with 15-lap and 20-lap mass-start races now being contested on the ISU Long Track World Cup circuit.
The Dutch Kortebaan (pronounced “KOR-te-ban”) is a traditional speed-skating sprint race held on outdoor ice. Historically, it was one of the first formats used to declare speed-skating champions in holland and winners were usually awarded prize money – and a ham. In our version of the event, pairs of skaters race down a straight, 160m route on frozen Hawrelak Park Lake. One by one, skaters are eliminated until the final two compete in a sudden-death race. The final skater left standing wins a ham and bragging rights.
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