Labrador West residents urged not to drive snowmobiles on thin ice

Eldon Wheaton, president of the White Wolf snowmobile club in Labrador City, is urging people to wait until ice is thick enough before heading out on their snowmobiles.  (Darryl Dinn/CBC - image credit)
Eldon Wheaton, president of the White Wolf snowmobile club in Labrador City, is urging people to wait until ice is thick enough before heading out on their snowmobiles. (Darryl Dinn/CBC - image credit)
Darryl Dinn/CBC
Darryl Dinn/CBC

People living in Labrador West are being told not to tread on thin ice.

Eldon Wheaton, the president of the White Wolf snowmobile club in Labrador City, is urging people to wait until ice is thick enough before heading out to the lakes on their snowmobiles.

"There's not enough ice anywhere yet to be going out," said Wheaton. "I would advise everybody to stay off the ice for a while yet."

Wheaton says some of the bigger lakes in Labrador West aren't frozen over. For those eager to hit the ice on their Skidoos, he recommends waiting until the ice is 15 to 20 centimetres thick.

 

Labrador West Search and Rescue has posted various pictures on their Facebook page reminding people that the ice isn't ready for winter activities.

"Make every trip a return trip," says one Facebook post, adding, "someone at home loves you."

Wheaton says it's unwise to go out on any body of water before it's fully frozen, but he knows some people are eager to get the snowmobile season started. He says temperatures are going to keep dropping, so he assures fellow snowmobilers that it won't take much longer for the ice to freeze over — he says it could take just a few more days.

Lifesaving Society
Lifesaving Society

The Lifesaving Society says people shouldn't skate, ice fish or walk on ice until it's about 10 centimetres thick. Snowmobiles should stay off the ice until it's at least 13 centimetres thick, and a vehicle should wait until the ice is 20 to 30 centimetres thick.

Wheaton says the snowmobile club doesn't allow its trail groomers to travel across lakes until the water freezes to about 50 centimetres of solid ice. He says the club drills holes into the ice to determine its thickness.

When it comes to the best time of year to head out on the ice, Wheaton says it all depends on the weather. He says snow doesn't make for great ice conditions because it acts as an insulator, so it could take longer for ice to fully freeze.

Going for a snowmobile ride on thin ice isn't just dangerous for those on the snowmobile, says Wheaton, but also for those who have to go to the lake and rescue them.

"Don't have a death wish," said Wheaton. "Don't go out on the lakes. Not yet. It's too dangerous."

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