Wild ice draws skaters to the Colorado alpine. One woman is trying to make sure they survive. | SummitDaily.com

Wild ice draws skaters to the Colorado alpine. One woman is trying to make sure they survive.

Laura Kottlowski has become the unofficial ambassador of elusive and pristine wild ice skating

Jennifer Brown
The Colorado Sun
Laura Kottlowski skates inside Rocky Mountain National Park last weekend. “Ice skating for me is just pure freedom,” Kottlowski said. “Especially when you’re up in the mountains doing it outside, it’s like you’re flying. You’ve got the blue sky overhead and just like the sun shining on your face and other worldly things happening in the ice like the ice formations themselves.”
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK — The intimidating east face of Longs Peak juts toward a blue sky behind her, and the wind at nearly 12,000 feet blows so fiercely that bands of sugary snow sweep across the ice and sting her eyes.

She is tiny out here, like a miniature dancer twirling in a music box. 

Laura Kottlowski skates across the frozen lake, gaining speed before leaping gracefully into a wide-legged split jump and then whipping faster and faster in a sit spin until she stops with a pose, one arm reaching for the sky. Her blond braid flies. Her pink snow pants stand out against the browns of the alpine tundra.

Carving elegant designs in the ice against the backdrop of the rugged Rockies is what she craves.

Kottlowski, who as a girl dreamed of making it to the Olympics and then drifted away from the sport after competing in college, rediscovered skating as it first began — under an open sky, the wind propelling her forward, the creaks and groans of the ice echoing off mountain walls.

Read the full story at ColoradoSun.com.

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