It ain't over till it's over.
Without a doubt this has been one of the most unusual kite ski seasons we've seen. A promising start punctuated by some bad surface conditions followed by a long term chill and some much snow we didn't know what to do with it. Never have we had so many powder days.
With the ups and downs of the early season however we must be aware of potential risks that we face here in the late season. Many of the larger lakes like Winne were open water late in to the early season while lakes like Chocorua froze earlier. Normally Chocorua is in play longer than most of Winne but this season with it freezing early and then getting a ton of snow on it the ice production ground to a halt. While Winne remained open and then froze after we got our piles of snow which was followed by s substantial cold snap. Winne was an ice making machine!
So what's my point? The point is that lakes that froze earlier will have to be approached with more caution than usual. While there are still vehicles driving on Squam and Winne we suspect the ice on Chocorua wouldn't support that weight. And lakes like Silver, where the North end froze early and the South end froze late, will have different levels of save ice depending on where you are on the lake.
The season isn't over by a long shot. We did just receive some rain and it will have an impact on the surface conditions. On some lakes, if we get a cold snap again, will turn to hard plate. On others it should knock down the rough old windslabs and smooth everything out.
Be mindful of drain holes and especially inlets as warmer snowmelt and rain water work their way into the lakes. And keep in mind in this late season as the sun is high and solar gain is high that conditions will change rapidly as the day goes on. The surfaces will become soft and your launch anchor will likely heat up and become like a loose tooth in the ice. Don't assume it will be secure when you return. Check it and if needed set your backup.
For many this is the best time of the season to ride. Low resistance on the surface make for some amazing riding even on the lightest wind days. And warm temps and long daylight make for some really comfortable long distance riding.
We will likely be in operation locally for at least another week then as the season winds down we will be focused on the lakes further north.
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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.