Skating on thick ice

Skater on the Charles River

Mary Ellen spotted this skater on the Charles River at Millennium Park in West Roxbury a couple days ago.

Authorities, of course, recommend not skating on the Charles.



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That is a good video but I

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That is a good video but I wonder, how effective is this technique with skates dragging one down...

Voting is closed. 15

Nice! Some of them aren't

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Nice! Some of them aren't even wearing hats!

The local pond here froze and there were dozens of people out last weekend. I skated all over it and talked to the fishermen; they said the ice was 6-8 in thick. Plenty safe. There are fishermen going out there all over the state every winter. They know how to be cautious. Drunk students, not so much. Plus we got the media to scare us and the lawyers to keep us away with the warnings signs. Personal responsibility is dead.

Voting is closed. 21

That was before the current Charles River Dam was built

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The new dam, built in the mid 1970s, regulates and changes water levels on the Charles with some regularity (even in the winter), which weakens even the thickest ice. The old dam didn't, so the water level fluctuated at a much slower rate.

Voting is closed. 27

Bubbling things, too

There at least used to be bubblers that aerated the water in certain basins - like by the MIT Sailing pavilion. These also stop ice formation. Marina and boathouse areas also use bubblers to keep their docks ice free.

Voting is closed. 20

Yes but

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Bubbling things inhibit ice formation locally, but don't affect ice further away. As for the dam, it does regulate the water level, but it's really only used to create space in the river when there is an oncoming storm to store rainwater at high tide. If it's well below freezing and has been for a while, there's really no water to come in. (i.e. it's probably fine through Monday, once things start melting, stay far, far away).

The Esplanade was designed with the biggest lagoon built explicitly for skating but god forbid the DCR would go out and core the ice and say "ice is 8" thick and we drove a truck around plowing, skate at your own risk" but oh no they could never do something like that because it's not their mission to allow recreation on the properties they own or anything.

Out west in Millennium Park it's quite flat without much flow, so also probably fine. If you went out and cored 4" in most places, it's probably safe.

-Signed, the guy who skied the river in 2015 (when the wind crust was such that you stayed on the surface of the snow, which then distributed your weight on to the ice … it might be repeatable today but alas I am headed out of town) and got yelled at by DCR and MSP but there's nothing illegal about it.

Safest place to skate if it's not covered in ice: the pond in the Public Garden. Mostly because if you fall through, it's knee-deep.

Yes, the Cove out in Newton is nice, too.

Voting is closed. 26


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And the City says it’s closed, because 2 weeks of sub freezing temps won’t make it safe.

Voting is closed. 17