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Recommended minimum ice thickness
4" of new clear ice is the minimum thickness for travel on foot
5" is minimum for snowmobiles and ATVs
8"- 12" for cars or small trucks
 

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5-8 for sleds, altho, on the River behind my house we usually ride it when there is only 3-4
 

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iambill said:
How thick does ice have to be for it to safely support a snowmobile?
That depends on how fast you are going.
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True, I normally don't slow down much or stop while on the river, and I have been riding it for 36 years so I would have to say I know it pretty good and where the deep spots are and where it is shallow and stuff like that. Gotta blame my Dad for getting me hooked on riding the river when I was a little kid on my 10HP Olympic following him down it on his 399 Oly.
 

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I was once told there is no such thing as safe ice.
My neighbor sunk his sled with 13 miles on the odometer.
He had already went over the area and had gone back for whatever reason.
By the way, he was the third sled in the group.
 

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know the lake or body of water and there isn't a safer place to snowmobile.

This year may be an exception to most people's rules though, its been up and down so much that hard clear ice has been scarce in some areas and ice hasn't formed as quick as most years. We usually have 1.5 feet by feb, 20-24" by march. You can drive a dumptruck on it most years in feb (good time to get supplies to island properties). Only around 10-12" right now which is unusual, but more than enough to be safe on stopped sleds. Lake is 10 miles long, 2mi across, over 200 feet deep. Its pretty big and windy and doesn't get ice on the main channel til just b4 xmas time. You can ride it safely by mid jan most years. Last weekend was the first weekend most were running it with 8-10" throughout. was staked by the snowmobile club this week which basically means they take responsability for anyone going through on their stake line.

8-10" will support a multiple group of sleds stopped, no question's asked - its a fact. The only problem is lakes that have hidden springs or creeks don't form ice as solid in those spots.
 

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I have read in text books and online that 5" of GOOD (how to define that is another question) ICE will hold your average pickup truck. I ride on the lake when there is 2.5" to 3"....I just don't mess around out there, When there is 4" to 5" we park sleds in groups and fish all day long, never had any problems!
 

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at the pond where my cabin is
we once checked it and there was 8 inches
we walk over to the other side ,
and with 2 swings of the axe we where through
only 2 inches.
in the spand of only a few feet there
was a 6 inch difference.

we ride a lot on ice
know your area and use common sense
is the best way to stay on the top side

so i guess there is no safe ice
 

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I won't run on a river anymore, I broke through crossing a couple of years ago, and I got a good eye level view of the ice as I was paddling to shore and it was probably not quite 2" thick

when the sign says bridge out, by god the bridge's out
 

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often ice will bridge too and 5" of ice with air under it is nothing...

if its on the water (floating that is) maybe... and rivers are a whole different game assuming they have running water under the ice?? wow things can change real FAST in those conditions...

be careful!
 
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