Rare and Exquisite Ice . . .

The beginning of winter has been extra special for northern Minnesotan’s this year. The temperatures have stayed mild hovering around 30ΒΊ during the day and our first snowfalls all melted. Snowmobilers and cross-country skiers are waiting impatiently for some real snow .. but, most of us are over joyed with the warmer temperatures and only a dusting of snow.

What makes this winter extra special and extremely rare is the fact that our lakes are frozen and there is absolutely no snow on them. Northern Minnesota, land of 10,000 + lakes, is an ice skaters paradise. I only remember conditions being like this once before when I was about 7. My memories of that experience are vivid because it was so exciting to be able to put on a pair of skates and skate everywhere and anywhere .. no shoveling a little rectangle to skate in … you could skate around an entire lake.

Our first big snow fall will ruin these rare skating conditions, so the need to get out and enjoy it is immediate. Most years, we do not get the opportunity to skate because the ice freezes with a slushy/icy crust or it is immediately covered in snow. Some years the lakes freeze nice and a skater may get a day or two of good skating ice before a snow fall. This years ice conditions are extremely rare because they have lasted over a week and it looks like we will probably have at least one more week of snow-free ice.

If you are an avid ice skater or ice sailing enthusiast, now is definitely the time to visit Minnesota. There are a few natural hazards around the edges of the lakes, but because of the lack of snow, they are very visible and avoidable. And, I hear that some of the lakes have ice that is clear and you can see down into the lake as you skate .. how cool is that?

I am ashamed to admit that I added a few obstacles on two of the lakes near me. If you come here to skate, watch out for pebbles on the ice. Yes, pebbles … I am very sorry. I was overcome by a strong urge to indulge in the second thing that makes these rare and precious ice conditions so extremely special … the ice is musical. If you skip a rock or throw, let’s say a small handful of pebbles on the ice, πŸ˜‰ every single bounce of every rock makes a magical ringing sound. Isn’t nature wonderous?

Get out there and enjoy this rare Minnesota December .. skate, sail your ice boats, and make music in nature before the snow comes and ruins all the once twice in a lifetime fun.

~ by bearyweather on December 3, 2011.

17 Responses to “Rare and Exquisite Ice . . .”

  1. Rare and beautiful ice, indeed! Every once in a blue moon our bay freezes like this straight across and people can go ice skating. I don’t know about our little ponds now, but perhaps they are the same as yours. I am smiling about your pebble-throwing urges. πŸ™‚

  2. Wow, that is awesome! We don’t get that around here.

  3. Hi Bearyweather, I sure do like your snowfall on the header – very nice! I think that the little pond here where I live will certainly ice over at some point this Winter. I know that the medium-sized lake where I last had my home, did ice over several times last Winter. I like seeing bodies of water freeze over. Have a great Sunday tomorrow and a very nice coming week!

    • Once the ice forms on our lakes it is there until late March … sometimes late April. If your ice is thin and comes and goes … I bet it is musical. When and if it freezes this year, you will have to go out with some pebbles and try it out. (Not too thin or the rocks just break through.

  4. We are having exactly the same thing here this year! In fact today I was looking at a large pond that was frozen over and perfectly smooth across. I’ll have to dig my skates out before it snows again!

    • We had a dusting of snow on Sunday .. but, most of it blew off the ice and no snow is in our forcast all week. A little snow (say an inch) is kind of nice … padding for falling and a little something for the ski poles to sink into for us wobbly ankled skaters. πŸ˜‰ I hope you get a chance to skate a bit before th snow comes.

  5. My husband would love the skating. I would love throwing pebbles on the ice to hear it sing. πŸ™‚

    • Does your pond freeze over so you can try it? This winter is so nice so far … lakes are still clear and we are suppose to have temperatures in the 30’s during the day this weekend (colder at night which makes for great ice) … skating without having to wear a ton of winter clothes.

      • It does freeze over. My husband skates every year although it usually involves having to shovel the snow first. If he’s lucky, we get a little warm up with rain and then a refreeze that smooths out the ice. Mostly we end up sledding out onto the pond. The sledding hill ends near the pond and if you get some good momentum, you can sled at least half the length of the pond (which is a good distance).

  6. Hello from Duluth. Thanks for visiting my blog. You might also like my photo blog – Northern Prints – http://northernprints.wordpress.com

  7. When my grandmother was alive and she’d call me on my birthday (Dec. 3rd) she’d let me know if it snowed, back home, in honor of my birthday. I love it that you posted this piece on my birthday. I know it’s not particularly about snow — but it does honor one of my favorite winter pastimes when I lived in Michigan. What a lovely post for me to stumble upon. πŸ˜‰

    • Happy Birthday (a little late). I wish I could say that I posted it especially for you in honor of your special day … maybe it was some kind of cosmic connection? I love when that happens to me …when I visit a blog that seems to have been written just for me or that says something important about thoughts I have been tossing around in my head.
      Thanks for stumbling …skating? … into my blog for a visit.

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