For the next few months daily life begins with scraping ice from the car windscreen and short sleeve shirts become nothing more than a sweet memory. Even the pavement becomes your treacherous enemy during this time as every step on it could leave you lying flat on your back. For all of winter’s hindrances though, there is a silver (and icy) lining for the adventurous.
As the temperature plummets across Europe and North America, certain lakes, streams and seas freeze over, forming a layer of thick surface ice separating us from the watery world we want to explore. If you’re an Advanced Open Water Diver and want to push your diving skills to the extreme, continue the adventure and become a PADI Ice Diver!
This landlocked alpine country is synonymous with some of the best off-piste skiing in Europe. Amongst these world class ski resorts, frozen lakes wait for you! Trek up to the lake with some snowshoes and stay overnight in a wooden hut for the most authentic experience. The adventure wouldn’t be complete until you warm up after your time under the ice with a fondue or raclette! Find your local PADI Dive Center and Resort
Frozen Finland is a hotspot for the adventurous! As the lakes and streams freeze, the opportunities for the thrill seeker multiplies. Snow-kite across the frozen lakes, sharpen your axes to climb the frozen waterfalls and get your drysuit for diving below the ice! The long winters In Finland guarantee snow and ice until spring and it’s not uncommon to have a steaming Jacuzzi on standby for after.
Find your local PADI Dive Center and Resort
The appropriately named, White Sea, on the northwest coast of Russia gives ice divers the chance to encounter an abundance of marine life, with the star of the show being the white whale – the beluga! While being completely white, this mammal is also known for its unique echolocation organ called a melon, allowing it to find holes in thick sheet ice for breathing.
Unlikely to be in your budget, definitely more of a logistical headache and not an ideal place to learn, but for those already qualified and well experienced, surely the Antarctic with its penguins and hunting leopard seals in tow has to be the icing on the cake!
Ice diving will give you the chance to see beauty few others ever experience. The way the light dances through the ice, your exhaled bubbles coming to an abrupt halt as they hit the ice and the utter eeriness of being there. Besides seeing a marvel out of bounds to many, you’ll be admired by fellow divers and friends as you flash your PADI® Ice Diver card, and as we all know, bragging rights are as good as currency in some social circles.
Find your local PADI Dive Center and Resort to enroll in a PADI Ice Diver course or schedule your expedition under the ice. You may also want to check local course listings on PADI Adventures to complete the PADI Dry Suit Diver Specialty course prior to travel.