As I've gotten older, I spend less and less time outdoors in the winter. I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing, it just is what it is. Maybe I'm getting less tolerant of the cold, or maybe less tolerant of standing around an icy hole, for a flag that never pops. Or snowshoeing through fresh snow doesn't have the allure it once had.

However, that doesn't stop most of the rest of the population of Maine who are avid outdoors people. Mainers love to get out and ice fish, snowmobile, hike, even camp in the winter. While it sounds like a softer spot to sleep on, having to put on a snowsuit to go out and take a whizz at 3:00am when it's -10, is not my idea of fun.

But again, Mainers love their outdoor fun. But of course, every year, we hear about people, snowmobiles, or occasionally vehicles falling through the ice. So, for me because I literally don't know, how thick does the ice need to be to do all these things?

Right now, the National Weather Service is reminding folks that although it's been very cold lately, the ice is still very thin, and potentially unsafe. So how thick does it need to be to do certain things? Well, just to venture out on foot, it should be at least 4 inches thick. Skating in small groups needs 4-6 inches. Look for yourself here....

Image via National Weather Service Facebook page
Image via National Weather Service Facebook page

What about the folks that ride out? Snowmobiles require a solid 6 inches of ice, while cars and trucks will need 9-12 inches. But really, I've never really understood the people who are willing to bring their $40,000 truck out onto the ice. There's not a world where I could be comfortable with that. But hey... you do you.

More than anything, watch the conditions, and even better, speak to a local who knows the area well. No one wants to go from warm and dry, to soaked and freezing in a matter of seconds. Be safe, have fun.... and don't slip! Hahaha.

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