The lake froze on a calm night. The result was very, very smooth ice! The best part was that it didn’t snow on it for a long time. The ice had time to get thick enough to go out on and ice skaters and ice boaters had a week of delightful ice. The ice is now thick enough for travel, 8 or so inches thick although you still have to be careful. There are places near shore, generally around rocks or points of land, that have thin spots and there also are some pressure ridges where the expanding and contracting ice push and pull. Crossing these ridges, which are generally visible, should be done with care if at all.
Below is a picture of Sister and Poplar Islands and the ice is so smooth that it reflects. The mounds of ice are associated with the fact that the lake level has been lowered to the winter level so the ice sort of drapes itself over the rocks.
There are also cracks that had water come up through them. These white lines are where water has come up through cracks and then froze. This kind of thing is normal and these cracks are not a problem to cross over. It might also be noted that if there were snow on the ice, the water would not freeze immediately and would spread out on the ice below the snow. This would create the “slush layer” that often causes problems for skiers and others. This picture is off the SW end of Stamp Act Island.
Below is a picture of one of the pressure ridges that formed near Turtle Island. The ice sheets push against each other with pieces pushing up into the air.
Ice boats came from far and wide to the lake. One of the people in the picture had come from Maryland, the other from Concord, NH. The smooth ice is ideal and even a 2 or 3 mile an hour wind would make the boats fly.
The ice skating and boating ended on Sunday the 16th with an inch or so of snow and then a bit of rain. This has now solidified and is granular which actually makes for great skiing on the lake. In this bird’s eye view of Mink and the Jockey Caps, the pressure ridges are seen clearly as places without snow. Small amounts of water came up through the cracks and melted the small amounts of snow that fell. The picture is looking toward Triggs Island.
Finally, the area around the Sand Bar on Stamp Act generally has open water and it is true now. The open water area is actually only about 20 feet by 4 feet but the water spilled out and melted the small amount of snow. As I often say, there is always something new on the lake…