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'In the West sometimes they think that Siberia is snow and nothing else. But there is such life and energy here!'
dancer Sergei Polunin

How Siberians take the icy plunge to stay stress-free

By Vera Salnitskaya
03 February 2016

Ice swimming at night is the best cure for winter blues.

'I must say it is very refreshing and, more important, it helps to relieve stress very well.' Picture here and below: Vera Salnitskaya

Three times a week this group in Novosibirsk dive in to the pristine waters to cleanse themselves of worries through the long dark nights of winter. 

These people came after work at 7pm to feel the cold waters of Lake Kirovskoye.

Cleaning ice hole


Cleaning ice hole


Cleaning the ice hole


Cleaning ice hole


Swimming

Local activist Alexey maintains the ice hole so the swimming venue is ready for the 'walruses'. 

And they do so regularly through the winter months, pausing only when the air temperature sinks below minus 25C.

Local activist Alexey maintains the ice hole so the swimming venue is ready for the 'walruses'.

'The swimming starts about 6 pm and can last until 10 pm, and sometimes even midnight,' said photographer Vera. 'Usually there are ten or 15 people. 

Swimming


Swimming


Swimming


Swimming


Warming up

They dive in to the pristine waters to cleanse themselves of worries through the long dark nights of winter. 

'They  know each other well, and the atmosphere is very friendly here. I've also tried to swim in the ice-hole in the evening. 

'I must say it is very refreshing and, more important, it helps to relieve stress very well.'

And after the bracing swim: a welcome warm-up beside the fire. The perfect way to stay healthy during the long winter. 

Comments (3)

What a great way to stir the senses! Braving the elements and braving the soul...endurance at its best!
Carmen , Ireland
06/02/2016 06:47
12
0
I totally agree that this is a wonderful idea for health and stress relief. I love to swim but the coldest water I have ever jumped into was around 15C (60F) so I am very impressed to see people swimming lengths in the winter lake!
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
05/02/2016 06:51
7
0
one thing is for sure, they don-t have to worry about sniffles, coughs and flu!
Benedikt, Moscow,Russia
04/02/2016 20:55
7
0
1

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