Posted By: Thea Rodgers

This season, Lake Windermere iced up earlier than ever before in recent memory- the first week of November.   Nobody actually “Caught the Freeze”, because it caught us all by surprise!

After a warm spell in mid-November, the ice has since rebounded due to this cold, dry weather we’ve experienced over the past two weeks.

Some of the best ice-skating conditions have formed due to lack of snow, lack of strong winds, and consistent sub-zero temperatures. All of these factors have helped contribute to the smooth, clear ice we see out on the lake today.

As of December 13th, there are currently about 5 inches of ice and more is slowly accumulating as the temperatures stay hovering below 0°C.

This winter, we’d love it if you come check out the world-class Whiteway skating trail on Lake Windermere developed by the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club and the support of their many partners and funders.

This skating trail is seeing increased use, which is increasing the impact to the frozen lake in winter. However, the shared trail helps connect communities and encourages outdoor winter recreation. In an effort to improve their winter outreach and stewardship, the Nordic Club has partnered with us, the Ambassadors, to start a stewardship initiative for the frozen lake and to have people out on the ice every weekend to welcome visitors to the Whiteway.

The Nordic Club is one of our “winter stewardship champions” because of their efforts and interest in keeping this trail sustainably used throughout the winter.

How can you help keep it clean and healthy for all the under-ice lake critters?

  • Always pick up after your pet. There are no machines or cleanup crews following behind your dog. And your dog’s poop is YOUR responsibility.  If you have your pet off leash, you NEED to make sure you watch them at all times so you can tell when they are pooping. Remember, it’s your lake – do you want to swim in your dog’s poop by the time summer comes around?

 

  • Never leave litter behind. Even tiny scraps of garbage from food wrappers, or new year’s paper lanterns, will all eventually melt out into the lake and pollute the lake bottom. We continue to hear about how plastics are so bad for the environment and the fish and animals that live in and around freshwater bodies. Don’t contribute to the problem! It’s as easy as tucking all your garbage into a jacket pocket, and making sure it goes in the proper bin on your way off the ice!

 

  • Know when and where you gotta go. There are public bathroom facilities at Windermere Beach and Kinsmen Beach. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes – 2 hours to get from Kinsmen to Windermere, so prepare yourself before heading out on the ice and know where and when your nearest bathroom will be. Consider carrying a Restop bag out on the ice with you if you know you will be skating or skiing the whole loop trail.

 

  • Pitch-in in the spring. The LWA and Nordic Club will organize a spring ice clean-up all along the Whiteway trail. Keep an eye on our facebook page for event details and how you can help out!