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Speedskater turns Lake Michigan into his playground

Posted: 6:54 PM, Mar 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-05 19:54:06-05
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Forget the indoor ice rink, Brian Hansen has turned Lake Michigan into his playground.

He says he skates laps on the wild ice, "What we're doing, it's a version of wild ice: skating out on natural ice, out on the lake."

Hansen has skated around the harbor on Milwaukee's lakefront, the Veterans Park lagoon and on Pewaukee Lake. He wasn't afraid of falling in because "people were ice fishing further down so we were pretty confident it was pretty thick."

His latest adventure was perhaps his biggest thrill yet: He skated on an ice island floating in Lake Michigan.

"We paddled out there and we got out there and it was perfectly smooth ice as if it was just zambonied with just a thin layer of snow on it," he said.

The island was about a half mile offshore at Wind Point in Racine County.

"It was nice. It really felt like you were on land except every once in a while you'd hear the ice making noise," he laughed.

Hansen has words of caution for anyone thinking of skating on a lake: "Do not go out on the ice if you don't have a wet suit, a life jacket, a buddy."

He uses poles to check the ice's thickness, and if everything seems safe he skates. "Usually the first round I'll be more timid, and then after that I just go hard once I know the ice is thick enough," he said.

"It was nice. It really felt like you were on land except every once in a while you'd hear the ice making noise." — speedskater Brian Hansen

"I do miss speedskating, and getting outside and trying to find some spots to skate has been a really fun hobby."

If you want to see more of Hansen's skating adventures, visit his YouTube page.