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​INTRODUCTION
         
       So you want to take advantage of lakes in the winter.  When everything is frozen it doesn't look good for paddle sports.  But what we always say at Massachusetts Paddler: Every Problem is and Opportunity!  I do feel sorry for those who don't like the cold.  For those who spend the entire year in New England it is best to embrace whatever season is happening.   Winter is filled with so much excitement if you just look close once the temperature drops and the snow flys.
        If you live on a lake or close by you take take advantage when it freezes.  You should start with safety.  Being prepared and aware is the best place to start.  We strongly encourage you begin by carefully viewing our page on Winter Ice Safety.  Just click the button below.   When you are done, come back to this page.






Sledding

Safety First
  • Wear a Ski or Bicycling Helmet.
  • Don't go head first.  It increases the possibility of head injuries.
  • Consider and adult superviser for a large group or young children.  Kid under 5 years should alway have an adult supervise.


Choose the Right Sled
         The best sleds can be steered and some even have brakes to slow them down.  Tubes, saucers, or toboggans are difficult to control.  Sled substitutes like a lunch tray or cardboard box have led to out-of-control situations.  Good sleds can be purchased for a reasonable price and are well worth the money.  Consider this as a Christmas Gift.

​Choose the Right Hill
  • Select a hill that is not too steep and has a long flat area at the bottom to glide to a stop.
  • Avoid hills that end near a street or parking lot.
  • Avoid hills that end near ponds with unknown ice thickness, trees, fences, or other hazards.
  • Make sure the hill is free of dangerous obstacles.  Carefully review any jumps or enhanced features before sledding.  Use a spotter for jumps to avoid other sledding traffic and overall safety.
  • Choose hills that are snowy rather than icy. Ice means no control even for the best sled and sledder.
  • Always have kids sled during the daytime, when visibility is better. If they do go sledding at night, make sure the hill is well lit and all potential hazards are visible.

Skating

Learning Skating Basics can make it a total positive experience .  Follow our list below:
  • Skates should fit right - Skates need to fit snug like a ski boot and not loose like a tennis shoe. If your foot moves inside the skate, you can’t balance on the blade.
  • Wear a Helmet - Wear your bicycle helmet, hockey helmet, or ski helmet.
  • Never walk on the ice in street shoes - If you think you can provide support to another person or child without your own skates think again.  It just doesn't work.
  • Learn to fall - Avoid falling forward. Try and fall slowly and collapse down without trying to flail.  Kids will get frustrated, and that’s okay. You can tell kids that everybody falls, even professional skaters, and it's part of the learning process. 
  • Practice basic ice skating skills before they get on the ice. Learn to transfer weight by marching in small steps instead of walking.
  • Build to a Glide - Continue       marching on the ice instead of walking, and eventually you will build to a glide.  Basically, you switch from loud feet (marching) to quiet feet (keeping them still, which facilitates a glide).
  • If you really want to get good, consider a professional instructor - It won't be long before you are wearing a gold medal at the Olympics!  Only kidding.

Snowball Fights



Winter Ice Safety
Evergreen Fire Rescue - Ice Rescue Training
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