File Photo.

Sylvan Lake rink anticipated to open before Christmas

All ice users are advised to exercise extreme caution when heading out on to Sylvan Lake this winter

Sylvan Lake’s skating surface is on track to be open to the public before Christmas.

Joanne Gaudet, communications officer for the Town of Sylvan Lake, says the on lake skating surface is typically open before Christmas.

“That’s our goal every year if weird things weather wise happen then that may take it’s toll on our schedule,” said Gaudet, who added nothing weird has happened so far this season.

She added the Town is looking for the ice to be about 12 inches thick as there is also an area for ice parking and a tree.

Once the rink is prepped and safe for use an announcement will be made through the Town of Sylvan Lake Facebook page and website email notice.

Gaudet stressed the Town only tests the ice in the area surrounding the rink.

For areas outside of the skating surface, for instance those used for ice fishing or snowmobiling, the ice surface is not tested.

“We always just urge nothing but caution when you’re venturing, but then it’s completely up to the discretion of the user at that point,” commented Gaudet.

The Government of Alberta’s My Wild Alberta website shares ice safety tips for those looking to venture out on to ice surfaces during the winter months.

It advises users to never walk on ice that is less than four inches thick and to not drive on ice less than 12 inches thick.

When driving on the ice the article says to drive slowly, to avoid following another car too closely and to not park near another vehicle as the ice may bend and crack under the weight.

While in the vehicle on the frozen lake it is also recommended to keep seat belts off, windows cracked and the door half unlatched so it can be opened quickly.

Carrying a shovel and tow rope in the vehicle and waterproof matches on your body are listed in the My Wild Alberta tool kit, as well as nails or spikes in your pocket to help climb out of the water if need be.

If one should fall through the ice My Wild Alberta has a series of steps to take.

First, if you are in a vehicle, exit it immediately.

If you are in the water the article says to go to the ice edge and break your way to ice thick enough to support your weight as quickly as possible.

Next, they say to “crawl on your belly up on [the] ice, spreading your weight as far as possible” while using nails or spikes for added traction.

Once out of the water immediately seek a warm place to remove wet clothes as hypothermia can set in quickly.

More information on ice safety can be found at mywildalberta.ca.

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