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A story that was meant to about sports

Story by Good Sport April 3rd, 2017

I (Nina Mouritzen) grew up just outside Copenhagen and although I have been living in NYC for the past 18 years, I vividly remember the blistering cold and dark winters of my childhood. In part - that's why I have been trying to avoid the winter months when visiting my family there and opting for long Summer nights and light instead.

Discussing ideas with Good Sport about seasonal sports in Denmark prior to my trip. I was going in January this year and I thought we might as well celebrate the brutality of the typically coldest month there by looking into outdoor activities.

The phenomena of Winter Bathing has existed in Scandinavia for a long time and I started doing research into this "viking" type of swimming in ice water.

I connected with an older couple back in November and they were willing to let me tag along to some morning swims with them and some of there younger bathing companions, and I felt a plan had formulated enough to present to the magazine as an actual story we could do.

The visual feeling of these pink silhouettes against an ice back drop was appealing to me.

-Often you go in naked and often in the morning - hoisting yourselves into an "ice hole" essentially at the end of a pier to be able to submerge fully before climbing up. Most commonly you don't actually take strokes, but "dip" several times and then run into the small club house / changing room for heat and perhaps an Unterberg.

The closer I got to my departure date - I could see the weather forecast wasn't looking "normal" and wasn't looking good for ice covered oceans and winter bathing.

It was being described as a "mild winter" - I mean, of course, taking a dip would still be cold, but the actual imagery would look more like a grey Fall day with perhaps slight fog.

The day I arrived into Copenhagen - there was a slight feeling of frost in the air and as I went on a walk around the three lakes that make up the centre of the East-North-West section of the city, I saw a paper thick layer of ice at the very edges of the lakes.

But that was the coldest it got when I was there - It was simply too warm for the ocean and harbour to freeze.

I stayed for around two weeks and took very few pictures - the weather was damp with a chill but nothing like my memories of winter in Denmark with heaps of snow and freezing temperatures.

When I returned to NYC - I touched down into Brooklyn in early February - and the day after I arrived we had a heat wave and I saw kids in shorts on scooters amidst leftover snow drifts.

It was the hottest February on record in twenty years.

Simultaneously - I could see on the forecast, that Denmark was (now) experiencing a moment of polar vortex after my departure, which had made temperatures drop and snow flurries appear.

It lasted for a few days and was then replaced by "official" Spring weather.

Back in NYC - the February heatwave ceased and was replaced by snow and dropping temperatures.

I don't have many photographs from Denmark - essentially these few images can only attest to the failure of Winter and the apparent shift in climate.

Footnote: Nina Mouritzen is a New York based photographer