Don’t lace up those skates just yet. While plunging temperatures have caused ice to form early this year, the City of Yellowknife is warning residents that lakes and bays still aren’t safe for use.

Once a thickness of 15 centimeters or six inches is reached, it’s a green light for on-ice activities. But as of now, none of the 17 area bodies of water are in shape for shinny, skiing or snowmobiling, stated a city news release Monday.

The City of Yellowknife is asking residents to put on-ice activities old hold until patches, like the one seen, here are thick enough to skate or ski on.

Only three bodies of water with ice come close to hitting the mark as of Nov. 4, with Frame Lake (behind city hall), Back Bay and Kam Lake (off Curry Drive) yielding a thickness of five, 3.5, and 3.5 inches respectively. Ice levels at recreational hotspots like Yellowknife Bay and Stock Lake (Jackfish power plant) remain thin, while Dettah Ice Road (off of School Draw) is still open water.

The thickness of area ice, determined through testing that began in November with the help of the Great Slave Snowmobile Association, will be monitored until adequate readings are recorded.

Until then, the fire department is offering residents a refresher on the do’s and don’t of ice safety.

For ice travel via vehicle or machine:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Travel with a partner.
  • Ice thickness varies, there are always areas of weakness.
  • Carry dry clothing and matches with you.
  • If you are unsure of ice thickness, drill a test hole or stay off of the ice entirely.

What to do if the person you are with falls through ice:

  • Keep calm.
  • Don’t run up to the hole; you may fall through as well.
  • Use an item to throw or extend to the victim, such as jumper cables, skis, rope or push a boat ahead of you.
  • Seek immediate medical assistance for the victim; people subjected to the extreme cold may seem fine after being rescued, but could still be at risk of life threatening conditions.
  • If you are unable to rescue the victim, call the Fire Division.

What to do if you fall in the ice:

  • Remain calm and look toward the shore.
  • Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface of the ice.
  • Work forward on the ice by kicking your feet; this will assist you in keeping your body horizontal and help you “swim” out of the hole in the ice.
  • If the ice breaks, maintain your position and slide forward again; if this doesn’t work – keep trying!
  • Once you are lying on the ice, don’t stand up, instead roll away from the hole.
  • Crawl back through your original track and ensure that your weight is spread out until you are on solid ice or on shore.
  • Seek immediate medical assistance.

If you witness someone who has fallen through ice or is in distress, call fire and ambulance emergency at 873-2222.

Brendan Burke

As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility...

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