For those of us who love gliding across a frozen pond, Maine winters deliver a special treat. The best conditions come from black ice, the ultra-clear, dense, satiny ice that forms in very cold weather before snow arrives. It’s the crème de la crème foramoureux de la glace, magical stuff that’s been rare in recent years.
With the right weather sequence, however, Maine can produce great pond ice at any point in the winter. If we get a thaw followed by cold, dry weather, it’s time to sharpen the blades and dig your best scarf out of the closet.
Here at Chewonki, ice-lovers continually speculate over the surface condition of the Frog Pond, a lovely natural pool tucked in the woods behind the Center for Environmental Education. Right now, the dreaded “wintry mix” (the name weather forecasters use primly to describe an ugly combination of sleet, freezing rain, and snow) has compromised the Frog Pond ice, but that doesn’t stop a small group of optimistic souls from keeping vigil, hoping for a weather change. There was some good ice over the holiday vacation and we hope to have it back for Maine Coast Semester 62’s skating parties and championship games of ringette, a French-Canadian sport played much like hockey but in boots and using a rubber, doughnut-shaped ring instead of a puck. (Semester faculty members James and Esther Kary, who had played ringette in her native Quebec, brought it to Chewonki Neck.)
Enjoy these photos from previous Frog Pond seasons – and hope for bad weather (and good ice!)