Ice out is declared when “all the shores are free of ice” so that people can launch boats is they desire. The winner is closest to the “judged” time. A committee (that varies) makes the decision. All committee members are certified by the International Commission for Exactness (ICE). A list of the guesses and previous ice out dates is available in the other article that is further down the News Page.
But what has been happening that will move us toward ice out? Recently, we had a temperature of 50 degrees which was the culmination of three days of above freezing temperatures. Then, back to more winter. The warm weather melted much of the surface snow on the lake which then refroze. Then, the day of the closing of the ice out guessing had snow for most of the day. We got about 6 inches. So much for a smooth glide into Spring. The picture, below, is of Sunset Point taken on Sunday. Yes, it was snowing.
The melting and then re-freezing did allow for some “lake related” skiing. Traveling out Pleasant Valley Road, you cross Heath Brook. To the left, north, Heath Brook runs to the lake through a swamp with a few beaver houses and dams along the way. Looking right, south, the swamp continues for about half a mile but the stream flow is never enough for a boat but the area is swampy enough so travel is very difficult except when the snow is firm. The recent thaw and then freeze did the trick, the surface was hard for easy skiing. Skiing from the south end toward the road, it is a bit “thick” but after a few hundred yards, it opens into a wide area a couple of hundred yards in diameter that is basically swampy grassland. A few trees, a few old beaver houses and dams, but great skiing. The rest of the way to the road is easy, occasionally making detours to avoid places where there has been melting and water is flowing.
After crossing Pleasant Valley road, it is a bit thick again for a few hundred yards but then you again ski over grassy, swampy land that would be impassable when not frozen. In the picture, below, the view is downstream and the center of the picture is the way to the opening of the Heath into the lake. Again, you pass small beaver dams and old houses. You also avoid places where the stream has broken through but it recently wasn’t a problem.
Entering the lake last Saturday, the 14th, the melting of snow on the lake was evident. Probably 80 or 90% of the lake was grey ice and skiing was really only possible along the edges.
Now, the whole like is white and there was little wind after the snow as has been typical of most storms this year so skiers are now able to go anywhere. The white surface will also reflect sunlight, slowing the melting and has also added a bit more frozen stuff that needs to melt. Don’t expect the ice to go out in the next week. It won’t happen.