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Hi all, I don't do a lot of lake riding but we do have a couple where I ride. How can you tell if the ice depth is acceptable to ride on or not. The local snowmobile rental facility come and take cores but how deep should the ice be before you travel on to the lake?

I once crossed the lake the long way and at the end one time, noticed that I was travelling on some slush. I am sure that was just surface slush but it sure did give me a scare. Never back off the throttle I guess.

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For me I want 4"- 6" of Ice on a known lake. Most lakes freeze erratic and spring fed lakes have soft areas. I advise if you don't know the lake stay on the posted trail maintain 40mph and never stop if not familiar with the lake. If you ever feel uncomfortable don't chance a watercross go around or turnback

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I usually wait for at least a good 10 inches...as wryjoker is saying, all lakes WILL have "soft spots" or meaning that the ice isnt the same thickness all over. I figure if the lakes i ride on have 10 inches most all over and if i should find a soft spot it will be at least the minimum of 6 inches wich is more than enough to support a sled.

very important tip!!!! just cause you see tracks out on the lake dont assume that its thick enough to ride on!!!!!!

Polaris is my way out - Other people just use a door.
 

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Very good tip Triumph. I'm glad to hear I wasn't heading on too early. I wait for the tour guides to tell me its at 12" before going on. It's got to be my biggest fear in life so I don't usually make the decision lightly.

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I usually look for 5 inches on a known route on a known lake. My simple rule of thumb is that if there is a lot of traffic on a lake, nobodys fallen through, and it hasn't warmed up, it should be safe to ride where everyone else has gone. You can't go wrong with 10 or 12 though. Better safe than dead.

I want to ride every day, all day, as fast as I can.
 

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I did alot of research on this subject a while back. What I found out was that under sound, solid black ice (not snow ice), 4" is needed for a person, 6" for a snowmobile, 10" for a light car, and then above 12" you are pretty much set for pickup trucks and stuff.

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Niceorange is right if you have 12" I'll drive my truck and trailer across the lake.
I like to see 6" to be sure that it's safe.
Bman, If you run into "slush at the edges it is usually overflow from the wieght of the snow . Keep in the throttle!
 

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Thats a good point about slush. A lot of times you will find areas of water or slush at random spots on a lake. Its usually caused by the weight of the snow pushing the ice under water, and flooding the top. While this does not pose a threat of falling through, it does make it nasty riding, and if you get stuck, expect to get your feet wet. I once was walking across my lake in february, and yet while there were cars out there, I started getting into water, and ended up with water in my boots, and hypothermia. Be careful.

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Over in western NY, Chautauqua Lake is really fun!!! The locals say, "6inches you can drive your truck on it, 12 and you could drive a freight train!!"
I wait for the freight train!!! :)
 

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I'd like to see a truck sittin on 6 inches of ice...i'd have a pair of binoc's watching from 100 yards away.

gotta have at least 12 inches for a truck...just ask the 6 idiots whose vehicles fell through the ice last winter at the lakes i ride

Polaris is my way out - Other people just use a door.
 

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Yeah, I'd say that 6 inches is a little too thin to drive a truck on, at least I would take the chance. I am almost scared to go on 6 inches of ice with an atv, but nothing bad has happend.


 

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Why do you say that? I would consider Black Ice to be the most solid ice, as it is not weakened by air bubbles and snow.

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>Originally posted by xltman:

STAY AWAY FROM THE BLACK ICE!!!!!

[/quote]


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I agree with niceorange
If all I could get was "black" solid ice I would drive my truck across on 9 or 10"
honey combed "white" ice I will stay away from.
 

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Yep black clear ice is stronger psi. I would guess 1 1/2" of black ice @ 20mph or better is more than enough as long as you're picks are not 3/4". LOLLLL!!

"Meaningless Ride"
 

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You can always check with the ice fisherman on the thickness. They usually have a sled or truck on the ice. Just be carefull of a layer of ice,then a layer of slush, then snow on top. you can get into an awfull mess when your sled sinks into this.
 
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