Alberta Blue Cross is advising Albertans to stay off thin ice as temperatures across the province are unseasonably warm. (Advocate File Photo.

Alberta Blue Cross is advising Albertans to stay off thin ice as temperatures across the province are unseasonably warm. (Advocate File Photo.

Alberta Blue Cross urges Albertans to stay off thin ice

While it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, it could be a different story when it comes to thin ice.

After a 63-year-old man died trying to clear snow with a side-by-side at Jackfish Lake west of Edmonton, Alberta Blue Cross is reminding Albertans to be careful this winter.

“Even though we’re well into December, for many locations across the province, ice is not thick enough yet to bear the weight of quads, snowmobiles or side-by-sides—and in some cases may not even be thick enough to bear the weight of an individual on foot,” said Sharmin Hislop, director of corporate communications with Alberta Blue Cross in a press release.

Temperatures in Red Deer and central Alberta over the past few days have risen above freezing and made some ice soft but as the week progresses, those warm days are expected to return to seasonal averages.

Bower Ponds opened for skating Friday, but officials at Abraham Lake in Nordegg, are advising of thin ice.

“There are patches of ice, but warm days have left most of the lake open. Last winter the Lake did not freeze until we had a couple of weeks of -30 in mid-January,” David Thompson Country said in a tweet.

Alberta Blue Cross said that while frozen bodies of water offer opportunities for socially distanced outdoor activities, like ice fishing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing, there are risks involved.

“The Canadian Red Cross stresses that ice thickness can be affected by many factors including underwater springs or currents, air and water temperature and type, location, depth and size of the body of water,” added Hislop.

As for ice thickness, they are recommending 15 cm for walking or skating alone, 20 cm for skating groups or games, and 25 cm for snowmobiles.