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Weather great for ice skating, UMD outdoor coordinator offers safety tips

Dec 15, 2020 06:06AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

From WDIO-TV - December 15, 2020

The colder, dryer weather has created great conditions for ice skating, according to a coordinator for the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Recreational Outdoor Sports program.

Randy Carlson, who’s an avid outdoorsman, thinks people getting outside during the pandemic is a great benefit to their mental and physical health, but also believes that people should keep some things in mind before they go out.

"Certainly if you go to a place where there's other people on the ice, you know that they didn't fall through, so you're probably going to be ok,” said Carlson, “but at some point, someone has to go first and so I like being the explorer."

When Carlson “explores” ice for the first time, he doesn’t do it alone, emphasizing that people should never go out on the ice by themselves, and he brings along safety gear such as a throw bag, poles, and ice screws in cases anything goes wrong. Before he even gets on the ice, however, he checks its thickness.

"It takes 3, 4 inches before I'll go out there,” said Carlson.

Carlson also pointed that even when a smaller body of water, like Rock Pond near the UMD campus, is sufficiently frozen that doesn’t mean all area bodies of water are necessarily safe.

"Lakes like Fish Lake and Island Lake they don't freeze right away, so you have to be very cautious," said Carlson.

Finally, Carlson said it’s probably a good idea that people wear some sort of cushioning, such as elbow or knee pads, when they go out on the ice since naturally occurring ice on bodies of water can often be uneven and lead to skaters falling.  

To see the original story and read related reporting, follow his link to the WDIO-TV website.

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