Welcome to the Lake Ice home page. This site is for skaters, snowmobilers, sailors, fishermen and everyone else who spends time on frozen lakes and ponds. The site provides a detailed perspective on how ice behaves and what sorts of hazards you might find. Most ice users never get into serious trouble but enough of us do that many of us know more than a few stories of close calls or worse.
The 'Key Points' page gives a quick overview of the most important ways to help you stay out of trouble. The rest of the site provides a more detailed picture.
The level of risk associated with being on the ice is variable. In warm conditions ice is often great in the morning and terrible in the afternoon. In any conditions, it can be good in one place and bad nearby. Sometimes those differences are easy to identify, sometimes not. Learning to recognize a range of ice features and potential problems is helpful in assessing of conditions. Preparing yourself for when you get it wrong (and sooner or later you will) is just as important. In addition to ice hazards, the Lake Ice site looks at why lake ice behaves the way it does and delves a little into the underlying science.
The menus on the top and right side of the page provide access to individual subjects. In Windows, you can change the text/picture size with 'Ctrl+' or 'Ctrl-'. Links in the text have red lettering. Sometimes there is a note with a link telling you where to find what you are looking for on the target page. Important points and links are are covered in more than one place as most visitors only look at a small number of page during a visit. If you are coming back to the site after being away for a while, the 'Whats New?' page will help you pick up where you left off. A couple easy ways to get here: search for 'lakeice' or go to 'www.lakeice.org'.
Ice has a complicated range of behaviors and we learn new things about it every year. In light the complex nature of ice, some of what we describe here should be considered closer to opinion than hard fact. As with many recreational endeavors that involve risk, your choice to go out on a frozen lake has to be yours and yours alone (please read the disclaimer).