Is it safe to skate on icy ponds?

Published: Jan. 5, 2018 at 4:35 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2018 at 4:43 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Have you seen this video of a guy skating on Fountain Lake in Byrd Park?

Megan Wise and I decided to check for ourselves if it was safe to walk on the ice in Central Virginia.  I emailed Jeremy Hoffman at the Science Museum to pick his brain:

This is a picture of Dr. Hoffman doing something very important.

He pointed us to Minnesota - they know their ice there!

While ice is never 100 percent safe, we now had a goal - to see if we could find ice 4-5 inches thick on Fountain Lake in Byrd Park.

Although we saw some open water on one side of the lake, with some Geese in it, we went to the other side, and it looked frozen solid. We drilled into the ice and found around 4 inches. To be honest, we were surprised!

Megan Wise gingerly stood up - no cracking, no sounds. She was totally fine. The ice supported her weight.

I'm not going to ask her how much she weighs, but I don't think it's a lot.

So we decided I should give it a go: I weigh much more than Megan (about 230 pounds) and it held me too!

As you can see from the pictures, we didn't venture far from the edge.

WE DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU TRY THIS YOURSELF.  But the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says if you can find 4 to 5 inches of solid ice, it's safe to walk on.  And with the deep freeze over the next few days (through Jan. 8), the ice will only get thicker.

But remember: NO ICE IS 100 percent safe!

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