Who needs an ice rink when you have a pond and a shovel?
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Step 1: Safety
1. Look for thin snow and open water.
2. Work in pairs. Friend can help each other when they are in trouble.
a. If one person is going through the other should not run onto the ice and attempt a rescue. The combined weight will break the ice. A person on thin ice should lie down and spread out their arms and legs wide. Throw a stranded person a rope and pull them to safety. A stick or jacket may be used in place of a rope. If the stranded person can not be reached, they should slither to safety.
b. If someone has gone through the ice they need to pull themselves over the edge. The other person may carefully pull them up with a rope, but they need to take cues from the person in the water. Once the stranded person is up on the ice, they should roll away from the open water.
3. Listen for straining sounds. Ice may squeal as it begins to break.
4. Watch for cracks that grow. Cracks open and close over the winter. A sealed crack probably isn't dangerous. It is a bad sign when cracks radiate away from the person on the ice.
5. Initially, it is best to stay near the pond's edge. It is not a problem to break through into an inch of water. However, ice in between shore grasses or reeds may be weak. If the edge appears to be safe, venture inward.
6. Clear ice can be deceptive. Three inches is standard for walking. To check the thickness, chip a hole the length of a pocket knife blade. If the pocket knife does not strike water the ice should be thick enough.
7. Be prepared to make an emergency warming fire.
8. A smart dog will show were the ice is thick. An imperceptive dog will show were the ice is too thin. However, dogs are generally lighter than people and their weight is more evenly distributed by four feet.
Arctic Tips for Extreme Cold:
1. In extreme cold wet gloves will immediately freeze to ice. If stranded person may be able to use this to their advantage. Slap the wet gloves onto the dry ice. The frozen gloves can then be a purchase to oneself back up onto the surface.
2. Wet clothing may be insulated with clumps of dry grass. The grass can lift the cold seeping moisture away from the skin.
3. Extremely dry powdered snow may be used to dry off the skin. Start a large warming fire before rolling in the snow. Clothing may be hung around the fire to dry.
Step 2: Shovel Off the Snow on the Edge of the Pond
We started by shoveling out a ring around the edge of the pond. We were then able to skate circuits around the lake.
Step 3: Clear a Larger Area for Games
We switched from boots to skates after we had completed the circuit. It was challenging and fun to shovel with skates on. We made two cut across the middle of the pond. The paths divided the pond into quarters. Next we completely shoveled off half of the pond so we could play hockey.