Early Season

Bartlett Pond, Adirondack foot hills, December 16 (Dec 23 update: any ice that survived this week's thaw is under snow). Photo by Kevin Boyle

Ice prospects: December 23, Cold air has just arrived along with mid elevation snow.  

The detailed 2012 North Western Vermont Incident Report has been posted.  It gives much more (often first person) detail on the incidents and the lessons they hold.



December 21

Winter is officially here.  We have had a couple of days of skating on small, mid elevation ponds in the Adirondack foothills.  In Maine they have had a couple weeks of sailing on a pond near Bangor.  All that got snowed on and is now in the process of thawing fast enough that we will probably be starting over.  Cold weather is on the way....there is hope!

Remember that the early part of the season is when vehicle related ice fatalities occur at an especially high rate.  The late start to the season is likely to increase this risk as it is easy to remember the thicker ice in the January's of previous years.  The next few weeks is a particularly good time to depend  on your feet rather than gasoline to get out on the ice.

There is a new article on the Bearing Strength of Ice that compares different advice on the subject.  The main conclusion is that the Minnesota DNR recommendations are the best fit for recreational use.


Copyright 2012 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Reprinted with Permission


December 9 Report: Things are looking up for the gator but not for near term ice in New England

Skim ice has come and gone seveal times in the last two weeks on this shallow pond..

While we wait for real winter click here for a  recounting of a hair raising ice trip in 1880 from the New York Times archive.

There is a new gallery of annotated pictures of ice octopus patterns here.


Its coming but it will not be early this year. 



This guy showed up in one of our local ponds last summer and seems to be settling in for the winter. A northern subspecies of the American Alligator? Climate change??!

First skim ice has come and gone a few times in northern Vermont.  The 10 day forecast is not looking promising for anything beyond puddles.  In the mean time there are critters to keep an eye on, videos to watch and pictures of interesting ice to take.

A six axis dendritic ice crystal about a foot in diameter. It formed in still water where ice had melted the day before. Presumably it started on a small piece of left over ice that was far enough from everything else to grow in all six A axis directions. Note: The 60 degree axis angles are distorted by the low angle the photograph was taken from. .





The Definitive Overview of All Things Ice

Mariana Gosnell's book Ice: The Nature, The History, And The Uses Of An Astonishing Substance is a wide ranging discussion of ice from about every conceivable standpoint.  It starts with lake ice and moves on to glaciers, icebergs, plant and animal interactions with ice, and beyond.  If you find ice interesting, you will find this to be a very enjoyable book.