Canoe Slalom

‘Cold’, a short movie about canoe slalom during winter in Sweden

A short film by Erik Garmo about a canoe slalom training session in the winter on the last really cold day. It features slalom athlete Isak Öhrström in a beautiful Scandinavian scenery in Sweden. We asked Erik and Isak a few questions about the making of 'Cold'.

Why did you and Erik make this film?

Isak: “When we first started working on this project we had just got back to a very cold Sweden from a five week long training camp in Pau, France. This was when a lot of movies from Al Ain started appearing on the web. As a reaction to that we thought that it would be nice to show what training is like in the winter here in Sweden.”

Erik: “To train on the water during the winter has become second nature for us, but we are constantly reminded that this is something that appears extreme for non-paddlers. This winter has also been very cold for a lot of paddlers all around Europe, social media has been full of pictures and comments showing people paddling in harsh conditions. So we wanted to show what it’s like training during the winter in Scandinavia.”

isak ohrstrom canoe slalom kayak sweden training sportscene winter cold movie icf erik garmo

How much time did it take you?

Erik: “The filming of the paddling was done in one session. Isak was doing aerobic loops on the course and I had to run up and down the shore trying to get as much footage as possible before he finished the session. I knew he wouldn’t want to stay on the water longer than necessary because of the cold. I also knew that I might not get another chance this season to capture such a cold day. The final section of the movie had to be recorded later as I had to wait for warmer weather.

As for the script I usually have a rough idea about how I want the movie to look. This idea always evolves on the way, it’s a process. The editing was time-consuming work for sure. I received a lot of good feedback from different people and I made a couple of drafts before we settled for this final version.”

Isak: “It was fun to see the project being made into something beautiful from such a small amount of material. I really like how you get a feeling of quietness at the beginning and it’s nice to be reminded of the beauty of the winter landscape that we are lucky enough to experience every day.”

What does this movie tell us about Sweden naturewise, culturally, atmosphere?

Isak: “We usually have polar bears on the course but on this particular session they thought it to be too cold and had gone South... Jokes aside, it’s a lot different from paddling on an artificial course in the middle of a big city. We get to experience and enjoy nature on every session and you can drink the water!”

The movie looks beautiful and in a way romatic too. In real life, on the water, it's probably not that beautiful. It's cold, difficult to stay motivated, isn't it?

Isak: “The winter is for sure the time when our commitment is tested the most. If it weren’t for our good facilities with showers and a sauna, it would be very hard to get on the water every day. It also depends a lot on the temperature, when it’s under minus five degrees the ice does not build on the equipment and it’s pleasant to paddle. But when the temperature drops below that all the equipment becomes heavy with ice.”

Erik: “Contrary to what one might think, staying warm is not the biggest problem. When you get on the water you are always moving and thus creating a lot of heat. Though it does put extra importance on the planning of the session because you do not want to be still for long amounts of time.

The build up of ice on the equipment is definitely the hardest part of paddling during the winter. Also, when it’s cold, the boat turns slower because of the temperature in the water. But we always say that it’s good resistance training!”

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Proofreading: Nick Harding