If the weather forecast holds true, next weekend I foresee lots of grown humans coming over and remembering how to play again. The sound of slap-shots will reverberate for hours. And hot chocolate will pour freely.
We love our pond. But it’s not often that we get the perfect conditions where it’s cold enough, long enough, for it to freeze deeply enough without snow mucking up the whole deal. That’s why we get excited when we see this.
Having grown up around water (I’ve never lived anywhere that hasn’t had a pond or river on the property), you only need to fall through ice once to decide it’s in your best interest to become an expert on the subject. Did I say that I ever fell through the ice? No, not me–couldn’t have been me… musta been a sibling or friend. Yeah, that. : ) Anyway, here’s what you need to know.
When it comes to ice safety, there are several factors that can affect ice stability. Like the size of the body of water (a pond will be safe long before a lake). How deep the water is underneath (the deeper the water, the longer it takes to freeze). Whether there’s any running water through it (best just to assume ice over running water is not safe). Whether there’s snow on it, how much, and what kind (snow acts as a thermal blanket and softens ice). And so on. So, if you’re not really familiar with the ice you plan to skate on, try to find someone who is, who can guide you.
Here is a general rule of thumb (excerpted from another post) to determine safe activities by ice thickness:
- 3? (7 cm) (new ice) – KEEP OFF
- 4? (10 cm) – suitable for ice fishing, cross-country skiing and walking (approx. 200 pounds)
- 5? (12 cm) – suitable for a single snowmobile or ATV (approx. 800 pounds)
- 8? – 12? (20 – 30 cm) – suitable for one car, group of people (approx. 1500 – 2000 pounds)
- 12? – 15? (30 – 38 cm) – suitable for a light pickup truck or a van
Now, if I could only wrap myself in bubble wrap ward off all the bruises in my future, all would be right with the world!