Thick ice coats the beards of competitors during a speed skating marathon on a frozen lake in Austria. The cold weather means that spray kicked up by other competitors freezes as they whizz round the Weissensee (White Lake) in the Carinthian village of Techendorf.

The village is hosting a traditional Dutch series of speed skating events for both professionals and amateurs with some 5,000 participants, until 31 January.

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Thick ice coats competitors' beards during the 200km (124-mile) speed skating race on the Weissensee in Techendorf, AustriaLeonhard Foeger/Reuters
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Skaters participate in the speed skating race in the Carinthian village of TechendorfLeonhard Foeger/Reuters
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Competitors' beards are encrusted with ice and snow during the speed skating raceLeonhard Foeger/Reuters
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A participant skates during an open run on the Weissensee (White Lake)Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
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Speed skaters compete during a mass start eventLeonhard Foeger/Reuters
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A skater, one of some 1,100 athletes, rests during the eventLeonhard Foeger/Reuters
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Sportswear hangs from balconies of a hotel in the Carinthian village of TechendorfLeonhard Foeger/Reuters
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Thermal wind-breaking underpants are sold in the Carinthian village of TechendorfLeonhard Foeger/Reuters

The major event is an Austrian alternative to the Elfstedentocht, a 200km race that is held on frozen canals in the Netherlands when conditions allow. It only takes place if the ice on the canals is at least 15cm thick along the entire course. The last tours were held in 1985, 1986 and 1997.