Ice Safety Tips
Ice safety is very important as breaking through the ice can be very dangerous or even deadly. The colour of the ice can indicate how strong it is. Of course, in our area the lakes are almost always covered with snow and so you can’t actually see the ice. However, before you get on the ice it might be a good idea to clear a small patch and observe the ice colours.
Gray Ice: If the ice is gray, it is weak. Often it turns gray after melting and then refreezing.
White Ice: White ice means that there are water-saturated snow freezes on top of the ice forming another layer. Often this white ice layer has air pockets causing it to be weak.
Blue or Clear Ice: Blue or clear ice is the strongest. However, its safety is still dependent on its thickness.
Mottled, Slushy or Rotten Ice: Mottled, slushy and rotten ice are all different names that mean the same thing. For this ice, it is not so much the colour but the texture. This ice is melting and slushy. Its strength is deceptive, so be extra careful around mottled, slushy or rotten ice.
When it comes to ice colour, an easy slogan to remember is this:
Thick and blue, tried and true;
Thin and crispy, way too risky
Other factors that play into ice safety are weather changes and the current temperature; Cracks or breaks; Standing water; Ice thickness; etc.
If you want to take your truck or car unto the ice, an extra safety measure is to make a hole next to your vehicle. If water starts to creep through, it is time to move your vehicle as it may mean that the ice around your vehicle is beginning to sink.
The Environment of Canada website has provided a glossary of ice terms and their definitions:
Photo by Nentori (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Snowshoeing in the Kootenays
In the winter months it is so enjoyable to go out snowshoeing or cross country skiing in our beautiful nature. But sometimes it is hard to think of a new location. Below are some common, groomed trails.
LOUIS CREEK TRAILS
The Louis Creek trails are beautiful cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails adjacent to Kimberley. Its trailhead is located at 8th Ave where it intersects with Elko Street in Kimberley.
LUMBERTON SKI TRAILS
The Lumberton ski trails offer approximately 30 km in trails. It utilizes unplowed logging roads and trails in the Lumberton area. The Lumberton turnoff is about 10 minutes South of Cranbrook on the Crowsnest highway.
The parking lot is located at N40.25.125' W115.58.807' You will see two trails: One leaving the parking lot area in a direction nearly perpendicular to the road and climbing up quite a bit. The other (the left one) gently angling away from the road and going up much more gently. For cross country skiing, take the left one and work your way uphill for around six kilometers (some take their snowmobile for this). The tracks are on the plateau. Remember tracks are prepared by volunteers. Situation and availability is subject to change.
Hosted by the Kimberley Nordic Club are the beautiful trails of North Star. North Star provides a large array of groomed loops through beautiful forest. The trailhead is located at the base of the ski hill. There is an entrance fee. Details about the rates can be found here: http://www.kimberleynordic.org/#!rates/c21kz
South Star offers a 25 km trail with a variety of loops suitable for novice to advanced skiers and snowshoers. The entrance is located at the end of 38th Ave., off the Gold Creek Road.
For the advanced snowshoer/cross country skier most of the trails mentioned here (https://www.mmoutdoors.ca/blog/hiking-trails-in-the-kootenays.html) are also available for winter sports. However, backcountry skiing/snowshoeing can be extremely dangerous and extreme caution must be used.
*** Mountain Man Outdoors is sharing this information as a service to her web site users and is not involved in the availability, suitability, maintenance and/or upkeep of these trails. Please use this information at your own discretion.
Spending winters in the mountains with nothing but white snow on all sides can be quite relaxing. For those wanting an adrenaline rush, the snow is a great place to go skiing, snowboarding and even having snowball fights. However, being on the slopes means one has to constantly be alert if they don’t want to get caught in an avalanche. The rapid descent of snow may seem harmless, but it can cause a lot of damage to life and property. This is why understanding of avalanches is necessary for those fond of spending their luxury time in the mountains.
On any slope, the snow is piled up and supported by a snow-pack. It keeps the snow from tumbling down all the time. Avalanches occur when the snowpack starts to weaken and allows the buildup of snow to be released. Small avalanches are generally made up of ice, snow and air. The larger ones comprise of rocks, trees, debris and even mud that is resting on the lower slopes. Contrary to belief... Read the full article here http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/types-causes-effects-of-avalanches.php.