How to avoid skating on thin ice

Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2002

Skating on lakes is always dangerous. Skaters can easily fall through holes, cracks and thin ice created by heat and moving water.

There's no guarantee of safety, and when in doubt, just don't go out. But if you do, here's some hints from hard-core skaters for skating safely:

• Go where others have already gone. A heavily used area has already been tested, although conditions can always change.

• Avoid moving water, which creates heat and melts ice. This includes areas where creeks and rivers enter and exit lakes.

• Salt or brackish water, including tidal areas, almost never freezes solid enough to hold people. Stay on fresh water ice.

• Stay away from the face of the glacier while on Mendenhall Lake. Pieces can calve off and hit people on the ice. They can also break the ice in a large area. Warning signs tell skiers and skaters to stay on the Skaters Cabin side of the large peninsula of rock that separates the glacier from the lake.

• Shoreline areas often have thinner ice.

• If you're starting out, skate with someone with more experience.

• Skate with company, but don't assume anyone can help you get out of the water. If one person falls through thin ice, another will too.

• Ladders are kept alongshore Twin Lakes and can be placed across holes in the ice if someone falls in.

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