Well while much of the East coast was dealing with gobs and gobs of snow we managed to avoid all that and didn't even get a flake here. Which is good. Why? Because we need cold, snow less and windless conditions to make ice. This past week we got exactly that and a few of our normal frozen playgrounds are now up and running in to some extent depending on what you want for surface conditions.
Recently We've been riding mostly Lake Chocorua due to the high quality surface conditions. It's one of the few lakes that has good snow on it. This of course is a blessing and a curse because as nice as it is to ride the snow has ground ice production on the lake to a halt. Fortunately the ice is variable 3-6" of black ice and not cloudy weak ice. As anyone who knows the area will tell you, Choco is probably one of the hardest lakes to ride because of the wind quality. But it's worth it once you get a feel for it. With the recent warm trend the snow on top has turned mostly to slush/snow. Nice during the day still but brutal in the morning after setting up over night.
Silver Lake is also in good shape. about the same as Choco but much smaller. Meanwhile the broads of Winnie aren't frozen yet but ice has formed in many of the bays. We've received reports from Melvin that the ice is about 6-7". No snow and orange peel surface. Lake Waukewan is about the same while most of Squam has set up, there are still open holes. Sunappe has set up and is snowless so they must be making ice fast. Further north on Moosehead the broads have locked up and they have glass as far as the eye can see. Possibly 10" in some places.
We haven't been to Umby yet this season but they have been hauling sheds out onto the ice with 4 wheelers and it's been very cold up there. Cold enough to probably make ice under the snow cover.
We should be in the cold for a while yet. Even with temps creeping up a bit we are still making ice at night and it looks like we will get some sort of decent season in even if it's going to be a short one. Lakes that are in the same state as Chocorua will fall apart fast this season so be mindful of that as spring approaches. In the meantime remember if you head out, ask the locals what the ice is doing. Bring your rescue picks and note potential risk areas. Best bet is to wait until the snowmobiles are on the ice if you really want to err on the side of caution.
For those of us who enjoy riding bare fast ice. Lake Champlain has started to set up and it is looking beautiful. 2-4" of glass. Hopefully it will not be too damaged by the warmth the next day or so. Thanks Gary Kjelleren for the photo.
WARNING. No ice is ever 100% safe. We offer condition reports as a service to our students and clients who are familiar with the area and as a source of general condition information to others. These reports are not intended to replace common sense or up to the minute first hand knowledge of a given area. Nor is it a substitute for common sense. When in doubt don't go out.