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ALSTER ICE 1997, 2010 & 2012

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2012 GO TO 2010



The official event took place on 10th, 11th and 12th February, after the authorities measured 22cm of ice. We were there on 7th and 10th. A red sunset on Friday 10th, was followed by two grey weekend days and snow on the Sunday

Alstervergnügen 2012: One Million visitors, mobile phone network overloaded, not enough stands or toilets, buses and trains full, taxis barely able to cope, over 150 visitors with broken bones and injuries, over an hour in the queue for mulled wine, lack of disabled ramps and facilities

Image © nicolls d.zine hamburg
2010 GO TO 1997
There was no official event in 2010, although many did go on the ice. Shortly before the event was going to be announced, the weather warmed up. On one of the days we were on the ice, the ice was full of puddles. We created three videos, covering three days
Image © nicolls d.zine hamburg

Archive: This is how 2010 progressed, sadly without the event in the end

click here for map

23.02.2010 | The go-ahead for the Alstereisvergnügen will not be given this year. The ice has thawed and can no longer support even one person. Temps will continue to rise. I was down there today and can confirm the warning the Hamburg government made today, that the ice is dangerous

17.02.2010 | The go-ahead for the Alstereisvergnügen will not be given for this weekend again. The ice is thick enough now, at 20cm, but temps will rise and the lake will be dangerous over the weekend

10.02.2010 | The go-ahead for the Alstereisvergnügen will not be given for this weekend either. The ice is thick enough to take individuals but not large groups, 13 to 18cm. Some areas are still dangerous and are cordened off. I've been down there three times and spotted people entering the ice inside a dangerous cordoned off area each time. Do not follow these people, walk further and be safe! I have photos of people doing this. Where masses of people enter the ice, that point may have been weakened

02.02.2010 | The go-ahead for the Alstereisvergnügen will not be given for this weekend. The ice is now melting and many parts are now dangerous

Hamburg 01.02.2010 | Three ALSTER ICE videos are now online in the Facebook Group (group archived in 2010, but still online). Watch the police stop the ice surfer in video 1

Hamburg 30.01.2010 | Today the Alster was safer than it was on the 28th, but will it be good enough for a major event next weekend? There were a number of places to get warmed up around the Alster and a few thousand people were on the ice. Trains were full and many cars were parked illegally, which will of course fill the city piggy banks quite nicely, after they pay for parking where it's forbidden - it's cheaper to take the train! We've heard that there are official mulled wine stands near the Atlantic, which could be there on Sunday. If you intend to drive there, DONT! Take any train to the main train station and walk a bit. Not one road in the area is free from ice. Parking... well, give it a go ;-) An estimated 35000 people were on the ice today

29.01.2010 | I was down there again yesterday. I would personally not go on the ice. There were puddles and areas which were not frozen. It did not look safe. Some people were entering the ice in a fenced-off area

Hamburg, 18:00 hrs 27.01.2010: So close, but yet so far... The Alster ''Eis'' Vergnügen will NOT take place. I've been down and had a look and there were people on the ice, but cracks were evident and the water under, and near, the bridges is not frozen. Police were not stopping people from going onto the ice, but the city of Hamburg will not allow a mass of people, reportedly one million, some say hundreds of thousands, onto the Alster at one time. Some areas have been given the go-ahead for small groups of people, but the Glühwein/Mulled wine stands will not appear

The latest... 27.01.2010. This weekend will not see a major event on the Alster ice, but the colder weather might just make it possible on the weekend of 5th and 6th February. As mentioned, large groups of people are forbidden in one area. The ice is not thick enough yet! The authorities will not allow mulled wine stands around the Alster, only on it, and reportedly only during an official weekend event. Some people are of the opinion that stands around the Alster should be allowed, but how can anyone stop the masses from walking on the ice anyway?

Alster photos from 27th January are in the Facebook group

If you do go down, it's at your own risk and it is more than bitterly cold! A balaclava and very warm artic clothing is a must, ski-clothing is correct - no thin trousers, or stomach-free fashion clothing or uncovered ears! Two pairs of socks would help. Even dogs could freeze out there, so think carefully before going. I could see one cafe open, but most are closed. Parking is getting close to being impossible, all round the outer-Alster. Ice sailing is strictly forbidden. Police are stopping them. Only certain types of sport are allowed on the Alster, such as dingy sailing and rowing. Wind surfing is forbidden. All motor boats, except the tourist and licenced boats are not allowed. Stay well away from bridges and trees, as the ice is thin. Large gatherings of people are to be avoided, due to weight.

Hamburg, 12:00 hrs 27.01.2010 | Today could be the day that the Hamburg authorities give the go-ahead to walk, or skate, officially on the Alster lake near the city centre. This would be first time for 13 years. Our photos from then can be seen in this group or on the website. So far, we have received no intention of a go-ahead from the Senat press department, in the town hall/city hall, but a team is out measuring the ice at circa 50 different points around the lake.

A rush to gain licences to sell Glühwein may take place at any minute.

The ice has reached the required 20cm in some places, but a thaw is imminent and this may ruin the chances. We need minus temps for the rest of the week. The authorities have quoted a 50-50 chance.

One million people will be on the ice, if the go-ahead is given. Currently it is not allowed, even though some people are on the ice at this very moment. A group of youths were rescued yesterday from ice which had theatened to break.

In 1997, dangerous cracks were discovered, hence the fact that the thickness of the ice has to be 20cm this year and not 15cm. Radio stations are poised to pass the news on and we'll keep an eye on our Emails. As our source of news is the same as the radio stations and TV, watch this space!

Hamburg 16.01.2010 | Is the Alster going to freeze over and be suitable for skating for the first time since 1997? Not all of the Alster will be suitable, as ice blocks create large uneven areas. Usually the area at the opposite end of the Alster to the town centre is cleared, near the Yacht club - click here for map. If the go-ahead is given to walk and skate on the Alster, and the ice reaches a thickness of more than 15cm, a major rush to gain licences to sell mulled wine on the Alster will take place in the relevant authority buildings.

The Alster Event in 1997 was very cold, with temperatures down to circa -18°C. The camera slowly died while taking these photos, hence the quality. Attempts have been made to improve the quality, without much success. The surface of the ice was not suitable for skating, as winds had broken up thinner ice, before it froze again. Some areas had been smoothed out for skating. The ice was not as thick as in 2012, when the authorities allowed the event to happen. Since then, the ice has to be over 20cm thick and not 15cm, before the go-ahead can be given. Stands were set up on the ice in 1997 - maybe for the very last time. Reportedly, the last day of the event was cancelled due to cracks forming in the ice
There are no more photos. Taken using a film camera
Images © nicolls d.zine hamburg
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