skating away December drought

By Jim Stanford on December 27, 2011

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Mac Munro and Steve Tatigian carve up Jackson Lake earlier this month.

One of the silver linings to a dry winter is the freezing of some of the bigger lakes for ice skating.

It takes a rare convergence of sustained cold temperatures and no snow, circumstances that come along about once every five years. Devotees of outdoor skating follow the conditions closely and spread the word via email chains informing which lakes are open.

I once had the opportunity to skate on Slide Lake around Thanksgiving. It was a magical experience, gliding around the dead trees and circling the perimeter, while listening to the ice crack and groan. A bighorn sheep watched from above.

This December, with little to no snowfall, skaters carved Jenny and even Jackson lakes. Because of its size, Jackson Lake usually freezes last, and it’s exceedingly rare to find the ice free of snow. Of course, once I got ready to head up there last week, four inches of snow fell, just enough to muddle the skating.

There are other perks to a dry winter: lots of sun, not having to shovel. Fortunately for skiers, that’s about to change.

(Photo via Vapor Beats)

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Posted under Environment, Sports, Weather

1 Comment so far

  1. JP Conner December 29, 2011 11:56 am

    I’ll have to try skating on a lake sometime. Although the cracking ice sounds like it might be a little concerning.

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