Driving the Storsjön Lake ice roads in Sweden
Storsjön Lake, located in the picturesque region of Jämtland in Sweden, is not only a stunning natural wonder but also plays host to a unique and fascinating phenomenon—the creation of ice roads.
How long are the Storsjön Lake ice roads?
Located in the province of Jämtland, the Storsjön is the fifth largest lake in Sweden. In winter a couple of ice roads replace the summer ferry services. Each year, when the Storsjön (Big Lake) freezes over, Sweden's national highway system expands just a little bit and the ferries are replaced by ice roads during the winter, usually from January through April. There are 2 ice roads across the lake: Isön-Norderön (1,5km long) and Norderön-Verkön (2,6km long). In summer there is a ferry service as well. The construction and maintenance of ice roads require careful planning and expertise. Before the roads can be established, several factors are taken into consideration, such as the thickness and stability of the ice, the weight-bearing capacity, and the prevailing weather conditions. Local authorities closely monitor the ice's development, ensuring that it meets the necessary safety standards before allowing vehicular traffic.
How to drive the Storsjön Lake ice roads?
There are some rules for this road: weight restriction of 2–4 t (2.0–3.9 long tons; 2.2–4.4 short tons); speed limit of 30 km/h (19 mph); prohibition against stopping or parking on the ice; minimum distance of 50 m (160 ft) between vehicles and restrictions for axle, bogie and gross weight. The thickness of the ice is measured every day to make sure the ice is strong and safe for the cars to travel on. In some places you can save up to 2 hours on your travel time by using the ice road. The journey offers a unique perspective on the region's natural beauty, a perspective reserved solely for those who venture onto the ice roads.
Pic: Kenneth E