Finland: Man creates giant ice rink for community

Sami Paivike on his snow plough Image copyright Yle/Sauli Antikainen
Image caption Sami Paivike says he enjoys "zooming around" on his all-terrain vehicle, and might do it again next year

A Finnish man has voluntarily ploughed miles of snow from a frozen lake so that local people can enjoy ice skating, it's reported.

Equipped with his own personal snow plough, Sami Paivike cleared a route of about 25km (15.5 miles) to make a giant ice rink on Lake Kemijoki, in Finland's northernmost Lapland province, the Yle news website reports. He decided to do it "on a whim" after making a little ice rink for his children, the website says. Officials in the city of Rovaniemi haven't intervened, and Mr Paivike says he'll keep going until someone tells him to stop, adding that local people are already enjoying the results. "There are a lot of ice skaters, of course, but also dog walkers and people on kick-sleighs or even in wheelchairs, all sorts," he says. "People get to see Rovaniemi from a different perspective when they're in the middle of the lake."

The city is perhaps best known as the hometown of Father Christmas, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year to its nearby Santa Claus Village. While Lapland residents are accustomed to deep snow, the region's north is in the grip of a particularly cold spell. The municipality of Utsjoki broke the record for this winter's lowest temperature in Finland, after dropping to almost -40C.

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