Cold weekend temperatures does not give you the green light to bring the shack down to Buffalo Pound Lake; yet.

This winter's weather has been very mild compared to what we are used to, and the constant freezing and re-heating of ice can be dangerous for anyone looking to start their usual winter activities. Cathie Bassett, Public Education Officer with the Moose Jaw Fire Department says ice is unpredictable. "The movement of the water flow underneath is a factor you still have to be careful no matter how thick it is because it could be thinner in some spots," says Bassett. 

Ice colour is important as well, Bassett explains, "clear blue ice is the strongest, white ice is half as strong and grey ice is unsafe." 

When it comes to ice thickness, she says the thicker the better.

  • 4 inches for ice fishing, walking, and cross-country skiing,
  • 5 inches for a snowmobile or ATV.
  • 8 to 12 inches at least for a small vehicle, such as a car, and;
  • At least 12-15 inches thick for a truck.

Bassett says that if you don't have an auger to check the thickness, and you know we haven't gone through an extended cold stretch - don't walk on it. If you do fall through the ice, the best thing to do is not panic. "Turn yourself towards the shore, just try to kick your legs out and don't thrash around. Once you are on the ice, stay horizontal and crawl towards the shore." Bassett also says it's best to bring a buddy with you instead of going alone. 

Driving on the ice can be a tricky one. Make sure the ice is thick enough for a large vehicle, and always roll your windows down so you can easily escape. "Don't wear a seatbelt when driving on the ice, that is just one more barrier when trying to escape," says Bassett. 

Bassett says the ice right now is definitely not thick enough to go on.