A frozen river turned road, makes an excellent shortcut. Here’s how it’s done.
A tractor is parked by the bank of the frozen river. Further away, on the ice, there are two men standing by their kick sleds. We’re in Nedre Saxnäs, a small village outside of Sorsele, with its twin settlement Övre Saxnäs on the other side of the Vindel River. The two men are the residents Lennart Sjöberg and village elder Leif Karlsson, and they’re in the middle of making an ice road.
Here, in Saxnäs, the river is used as a road during the winter months. In the past, the ice road made sure children could go to school without being boarded in a home on the other side of the river as they were during spring and autumn. The Swedish Road Administration used to keep it opened until 1977, and the village has taken care of it themselves since 1987. Nowadays, while frequently used, it’s mostly for promoting village community between the upstream and downstream Saxnäs, and as a shortcut – the ice literally paves the way between Övre and Nedre Saxnäs, turning a one-hour drive into ten minutes of transport in a serene winter landscape with the mountain Ols towering in the background.