As we enter an end-of-February cold snap, all of our fantastic outdoor rinks in Calgary will have their lives extended for at least a couple more weeks of skating. We in Alberta love to take advantage of the winter weather and get outside for recreation opportunities … and skating is perhaps the easiest and most abundant activity to take part in in Calgary. We love seeing people out on the many available sheets of ice as we make our way around for our snow removal jobs, and many on our Mirage crew leave the city when they can for activities such as ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and so on.
Winter recreation is an awful lot of fun, but can also be dangerous. Because it is part of our jobs, we always closely watch the weather, and safety is always top of mind. If you aren’t an outdoor expert in ice safety, it can be tough to tell if and when it’s ok to venture out on a frozen sheet of ice. With the help of the Red Cross, here are some helpful tips for ensuring the conditions are correct for activities.
Understanding the dangers of ice
Even though it’s cold, the longer our days get, the more difficult it is for ice to maintain its integrity. At this time of year it’s more important than ever to ensure where you’re stepping is safe. First of all, the colour of the ice is a good indicator of whether or not it is strong enough for you and others to play on.
- A clear blue sheet of ice is the most stable.
- Opaque or whitish ice has about half the resilience of clear blue ice.
- Gray ice means water is present and it is likely unsafe.
The minimum thickness of ice for skating is:
- 15 centimetres for a single individual.
- 20 centimetres for several individuals.
- 25 centimetres for a snowmobile.
Always watch for posted signs indicating the conditions and adhere to their directions. It is never advisable to go out on ice alone at night.
If you run into trouble on ice
If you are out on ice and it cracks and breaks, resulting in you falling in, the first thing to do is stop yourself from panicking. Immediately begin calling for help and do not try to climb out where you fell in, as the ice is already weak and will only break more.
- Relax and concentrate on breathing.
- Point yourself in the direction of the shore, where the ice will be more stable.
- Stretch yourself out over the ice horizontally, and try to kick yourself up into a prone position.
- Do not stand up.
- Spread your arms and legs out to distribute your body weight.
- Attempt to crawl or roll away from the hole.
- Keep your eyes on the shore and continue to crawl carefully towards safety.
If you spot someone else who has fallen through ice and you are alone, the first inclination may be to spring into action immediately. But, remember that police, fire fighters, and EMTs have specialized training and equipment for just such incidences. Call 911 and be as clear as possible about your location and need of immediate assistance.
When others are around it is easier to help right away. Make sure someone is in contact with authorities before assisting, then:
- See if you can reach the person safely from shore. Extend a branch or pole for them to grab on to and for you to pull them in.
- If you can’t reach them from shore, do not go out on the ice without wearing life jacket or some sort of personal floatation device.
- Bring a long pole or branch to test the ice in front of you. Also bring something to reach the other person with.
- When you get closer to the hole, lie down in the prone position so your body weight is evenly distributed.
- Extend the pole or rescue device.
- Encourage the person to kick themselves out of the hole.
Outdoor rinks in Calgary
The City of Calgary runs nine iconic outdoor rinks throughout the winter months. Bowness Park has its beloved lagoon, a new ice trail, fire pits, a sheet of ice for crokicurl, and even ice bikes for rent. Helmets and skates are also available for rent. The Olympic Plaza features music and holiday lights, and rentals are available. North Glenmore features an ice trail and crokicurl, and a rink for pick-up shinny hockey. And, right downtown is a sheet of ice located at Barb Scott Park, where urban denizens can just walk a couple blocks to for a spin.
Seventy more outdoor rinks are taken care of through Calgary’s Adopt-a-Rink program, where citizens help flood and maintain existing community pleasure skating rinks throughout the city. If you are thinking of starting a rink in your community, call 311 to learn more. The deadline for this winter has passed already, but there is still plenty of time to submit an application after April 1, 2023 and before Oct. 1, 2023.
Professional snow removal in Calgary from Mirage
Along with the cold weather, we have also seen a decent dump of snow in Calgary. We have spent our Family Day making our way around to our commercial and residential snow removal clients, cleaning up the several centimetres that has fallen already and prepping for the rest. Save your time and personal labour for the things you actually enjoy doing and let us at Mirage Landscaping take care of your walks, driveways, parking lots, and pathways. Our snow removal crews work around the clock to keep your home or business clear and are fully compliant with all Calgary bylaws.
- Prompt services for both residential and commercial properties.
- Expert crews with advanced snow removal equipment.
- Service for parking lots, driveways, walkways, and ice management.
- Sanding services for added vehicle traction on paved surfaces.
You’ll be surprised to learn just how affordable our snow removal services are. Get started today by contacting us for a fast, free custom price quote.