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For the third time in three days I skated from the north beach to the gap. Each day it’s been a very distinct experience, all of them amazing.

Today Sarah and I got to the parking lot right around sunset. The light dusting of snow that’s already been reported was so light as to be basically inconsequential (if anything, it softened the feeling of skating on what still seems like marble-hard ice). There was a steady wind out of the north, and the consistent snow cover only existed in the first few hundred meters, in the lee of the land to the north of the lake.

Beyond that point was patchy snow. Only a few times during the entire skate did I notice any friction or grabbing from the snow, it was almost unnoticeable otherwise. That said, there were definitely some spots of wind buff developing that might be grabbier tomorrow. Or perhaps it’ll all have blown clear.

We skated straight down the middle, with a great tailwind, as that’s the safest and simplest and most consistently good ice route down to the gap. I assume the big open water by the boat launch is still open; not sure about the smaller one to the south of that.

We stopped at the edge of the last plate that Matt and I were able to skate to on Saturday (the plate beyond being too thin that day and separated by an open water crack). Yesterday the next plate was skateable, but thin. I didn’t venture far out onto it, though I saw other people (not all of them prepared for a dunking) skating on it. It was dark by the time we got there, so we kept it conservative and stuck to what was almost certainly good.

The open water that was reported yesterday (that I saw as well) along the edge of those two plates, where I’ve stopped each day, didn’t look open tonight, but it was dark, so I’m definitely not sure. It’s a whole big mess of secondary ice on top of the black ice, very rime-y looking.

The skate back into the wind was slower, but not like yesterday’s upwind slog, thankfully.

I’ve attached a map that shows the rough locations of the snowy area in the north (white scribble), the two big open water areas in the northeast (red circles), the plate boundary I’ve been stopping at (yellow line), and the messy area along that boundary (red circle).

I’ve also attached a video clip that captures what skating on the lake was like this evening.

— Christopher Boone