By Heinz-Peter Bader

The Alternatieve Elfstedentocht (Alternative 11-City Race) has been a Dutch tradition since 1974. The original version in Friesland, an ice skating race over 200 km (124 miles) through 11 towns linked by canals, rivers and lakes, dates back many centuries. As the local waters don’t freeze over so easily anymore, the Dutch started looking for alternatives in other countries and organized an Alternatieve Elfstedentocht at lake Weissensee in Austria’s Carinthia Province in 1989 for the first time.