The Ice Is Nice

  • Share
  • Read Later
Olympic athletes dream of breaking records. So for speed skaters, Salt Lake City is a dream come true. The ice at the Utah Olympic Oval is considered extra fast, perfect for setting new records. Salt Lake's dry air means very low condensation, keeping the ice smoother — and faster. The city's high elevation reduces air resistance. Also, sophisticated temperature controls both for the ice itself and the Oval building will allow the Games organizers to vary the texture of the ice depending on the needs of the skaters: cold hard ice for the long distance events; smoother, softer ice for sprints. But softer ice has its perils. "The ice is very fast," says Anni Friesinger, the German speed-skating medal contender. "But you need a lot of grip in the corners."