When you are walking on ice, it is mind-boggling that you are actually moving on top of water, like water striders! And the fish are sleeping peacefully underneath you (Just kidding! They are not, but I always imagine they are).
As we Finns love open space around us, it is just natural that when every winter tens of thousands of square kilometers of unused space suddenly open up to usage, we invade that space. This is like macro-level diffusion. I call it ‘Findiffusion’ – the habit of Finnish people spreading out evenly to any given space.
An icy lake (or sea) is really easy to find and accessing it is equally easy. Just navigate your way to a beach or harbour, leave your car and go. Here an example of the shore of Kymijärvi.
Ice fishing is a peculiar hobby, but very common in Finland. You slide into a deep meditative state when pulling the fish rod up and down. It is also the second fastest hobby to get cold. First one obviously being ice swimming which makes your organs rearrange themselves and hide under your veins and fatty bits. It is such a thrill!
Skiing is the easiest to start on ice. Great views and the flat surface make it worth the beginner’s time. On the other hand, if you find those planks strapped to your feet too restricting, you can just take ski poles and do Nordic pole walking, which is another common hobby here in Finland. Doing it you look like a local instantly, I promise.
Spending family time on ice is pretty awesome. Just remember to have enough clothes for everybody and sunglasses because sunshine is unbelievably bright. You can take a sledge for small children or skate, if there is visible ice. All the darker spots in my pictures are natural visible ice which is perfect for ice skating.
For your safety, always ask locals if it is safe to go on ice! For more information, you can find here the current situation regarding sea ice and here the lake ice conditions. I found this English information about ice safety very useful too.